We’re not in the habit of talking about motorcycles here, but this time Honda’s Consumer Electronics Show swept us away and we just had to share it with the world.
The Honda robotics team, which should be universally known and praised for the Asimo robot, but also delivered the interesting Uni-Cub scooter, has taken its expertise of the technology into a project involving the development of a prototype self-balancing motorcycle. And as the name implies, the visitors of the Consumer Electronics Show got to see a motorcycle that will never fall over. They deployed the system on a Honda NC platform, with Riding Assist making use of variable electro-geometry instead of the more common gyroscopics in order to make the motorcycle able to balance itself upright.
We all know that anything on two wheels – from kinder bike to choppers – will balance itself at higher speeds, so the problem is only when the speed is too low. Honda engineers have thus worked on a system that kicks in at speeds below three miles per hour by working on the angle of the front fork. And before you ask, no, we don’t think they’ll get it working at any speeds so you can be the next circuit champion without even having a proper motorcycle license. But we liked the idea and challenge behind the engineering project. In order to work, the Riding Assist will adjust the rake and trail at walking speeds, as well as changing the steering angle of the front wheel at even lower speeds, with the motorcycle magically remaining upright – even without a rider.