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Self-driving motorcycle developed to help test autonomous cars

A self-driving motorcycle has been developed to improve the real-world testing of autonomous cars…watch the video.

A SELF-DRIVING motorcycle has been co-developed by AB Dynamics to facilitate the testing of autonomous cars in more challenging conditions.

“Unlike slow-moving pedestrians and cyclists, the combination of rapid acceleration and extreme manoeuvrability means motorcycles present a challenge to an autonomous vehicle or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)”, AB Dynamics said in a statement.

The company said it didn’t want to risk a human rider when testing how autonomous vehicles respond to a motorcycle’s presence, and that current test items weren’t able to replicate the movement of a real motorbike. And, so, it adapted its autonomous drive vehicle technology and fitted it to a BMW C1 motorcycle (which has ABS, no manual clutch and a roof structure, convenient for mounting sensors) to allow complete testing of motorcycle overtaking, traffic filtering and lane splitting.

riderless motorcycle developed to help test autonomous cars

“A riderless motorcycle allows more comprehensive testing of autonomous or ADAS-equipped vehicles, without risking injury to a real rider,” explained Dr Richard Simpson, Senior Systems Engineer at AB Dynamics. “It also permits greater accuracy, repeatability and consistency between tests than any human rider could achieve. This motorcycle is another excellent tool to complement our other testing equipment for autonomous and ADAS development.”

“Future legislation and vehicle safety testing could require ADAS systems and autonomous vehicles to be validated in increasingly complex scenarios and the riderless motorcycle is a useful tool for achieving this,” said Simpson. “It could also have applications in motorcycle durability testing by removing the human rider from some of the more arduous tests over rough surfaces, such as pave, where cars already use robot drivers to eliminate driver fatigue.”

The self-driving motorcycle is currently a one-off by AB Dynamics but it expects car makers and other companies working on autonomous vehicle technology will see its potential.

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober