As they enjoy their hundredth year, BMW have released concept plans for their next 100 range, and needless to say, they look remarkably slick. Following the airing of the concepts for Mini, Rolls Royce and BMW, the company’s Motorrad wing have announced the ‘Vision Next 100’. This ground-breaking bike design, comes complete with a number of remarkable features, truly bringing motorcycling into the future.
So with this in mind, what does the future look like through the German manufacturer’s eyes, and what words of wisdom do their development team have to bestow upon us.
With its identity established as one of the innovators of the road, BMW have managed to bring through a select range of next generation cars in the past decade, focusing on utilising renewable energy, and capturing futuristic designs. In the motorcycling world, they have already brought us the Safety 360° approach and system, maximising a way of life on the road.
The proposed new Motorrad project sees a flowing carbon fibre body, resplendently decked out with a flowing gown of fabric. The innovation doesn’t stop with the framework, continuing on through the engine, which is a fully electric powertrain. The bike will act as a single unit, with the whole bike frame turning when the handlebars are turned. This is coupled without suspension, with the tyres taking the impact, and a gyroscopic stabilisation system, that means it doesn’t even need a bike stand to stay upright. Combine all of these elements together, and you have a machine that BMW claim, you can ride with no need for a helmet.
So will this innovative vehicle take the fun out of riding by using an automated system? Not a chance! BMW suggest that this “takes the analogue riding experience to a completely new level”, and who are we to disagree with that. It will, however, provide a smart visor that can broadcast navigation functions, messages and driving data in a set location for the driver’s eyes to look away from the road. Oh, and it will have vehicle-to-infrastructure technology to predict hazards ahead and warn the rider.
But just how will the future be safer for riders? Well, according to Karl Viktor Schaller, the head of development at BMW Motorrad, with the rise of driverless cars, bikers will enjoy safer roads. He suggests that it would lessen the risk of human error, advising that “Robot cars would mean a dramatic enhancement in safety for the motorbike, and it would guarantee a wider user group.”
Schaller’s claims are certainly backed up by statistics, which suggest that 48% of motorcycle accidents in the UK were directly caused by other road users, specifically car drivers, who don’t look properly.
If this does become a reality, then all of us here at Vélo Law are all for the future of motorcycling. We can’t quite imagine safely riding helmet-less on a self-standing bike, but are sure it’ll be great when we get there – until then, stay safe on the road!