BMW shows riderless motorcycle at CES

Autonomous R 1200 can start, accelerate, corner and come to complete stop

Published: January 8, 2019, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:57 PM

BMW R 1200 GS autonomous motorcycle

BMW took the opportunity at CES2019 to show off its latest autonomous offering, the self-riding BMW R 1200 GS.

Granted the idea of a riderless motorcycle kind of defeats the purpose of having a motorcycle, and frankly even autonomous operation is sort of self defeating for a motorbike, but the idea is the same as for automobiles — to take human error out of the traffic equation, make roads safer for all users, and work toward a zero-fatality motoring.

The R 1200 demonstrated is strictly a test and research bike, that’s able to start, accelerate, corner, slow down and come to a complete stop, independent of what its rider may or may-not be doing. The objective is to gain valuable insight into riding dynamics, which can then be used to better train riders.

By analyzing the data provided by the autonomous system, riders can learn to recognize dangerous situations earlier and master difficult (and sometimes risky) emergency-avoidance manoeuvres by understanding the ideal lines for controlled cornering, and correct braking points and optimized acceleration to remain in control.

In this manner, riders can continuously improve their bike control, even when they’re using the bike in everyday real-world situations. Make sure you read our guide on sharing the road with motorcycles if you're a new driver.