With car technology giving us such advancements as stability control, electric motors and autonomous driving, what can we expect to see in motorcycles in the future?
While electric motor scooters have been around for a long time, electric motorcycles are just starting to find their way into the mainstream and mass production. One of the first e-motorcycle companies was actually founded in 2006 as Electricross but is now known as Zero. The fact that even companies such as Harley-Davidson have embraced electric bikes (with their LiveWire model) means that they are indeed here to stay and will become more ubiquitous. With improvements in technology will also come greater ranges for electric batteries as well as reduced charging times.
Anti-collision warning systems
For years now, it’s been possible to buy cars with sensors that can warn you if other cars or objects are near you (and so you don’t bend a fender when reversing), and this technology is now making its way to motorcycles. For example, Canadian startup company Damon Motorcycles has not only developed an electric motorcycle with the help of artificial intelligence, but has also launched a system called CoPilot which has a 360-degree advanced warning system. CoPilot constantly monitors what’s around you and can give riders a warning through haptic feedback on the handlebars, LEDs in the windshield, and 1080p front and rear cameras. Expect to see this kind of tech far more often now.
We’ve already seen airbag vests that can inflate in a fraction of a second when a rider falls off their bike. But now we’re seeing complete racing suits that integrate the technology, allowing the entire body to be protected by airbags. There will also likely be improvements in fabrics, such as integrating carbon fibres or Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE).
One of the greatest recent developments for motorcycles has been the integration of head-up display (HUD) systems, which establish communication between the bike and the helmet, allowing the rider to see real-time information such as speed and GPS and connect to one’s mobile phone. This will mean that riders will be able to keep looking ahead to see this information, without being distracted by looking down at the dashboard. Helmets are also being made stronger, with construction out of carbon fibre likely to be much more commonplace, rather than just for MotoGP riders or those with very full wallets.
This might sound like a magic trick but it is actually quite a useful technology. If you’re new to riding a motorcycle, it can be quite a challenge trying to keep the bike upright when stationary, such as when you’re at traffic lights. Some self-balancing motorcycles use a gyroscope that helps to monitor the position of the bike and can compensate if it leans over to one side. This has benefits also for safety that could be paired with other systems such as traction and stability control.