BMW Motorrad previews autonomous bike

BMW RGS Autonomous

This week BMW Motorrad - the motorcycle division of the German vehicle company - showed a prototype driverless bike on a test track accelerating, navigating curves, and braking all on its own. As odd as it is to see an autonomous auto cruising with no driver it's stranger still to see a motorcycle cruising with no one at the controls. It's alive! Say hello to BMW's latest creation: the robotic R 1200 GS.

Last week, in front of a group of journalists, BMW demonstrated the capabilities of the autonomous BMW R 1200 GS on track at Miramas.

What BMW is doing is using the platform to develop future systems and functions that can make motorcycling safer, more comfortable, and increase riding pleasure.

Although self-driving vehicle technology has the potential to save millions of lives on an annual basis (despite a handful of unfortunate incidents), it's arguably not the form of transportation that poses the biggest risks to riders. This tech keeps drivers from having accidents every day. In Munich, safety researchers have been using the autonomous motorcycle to test out features for its real motorcycles to handle risky situations.

Volkswagen to stop producing Beetle next summer
US sales of the Beetle have dropped 2.2 percent this year in a market that is increasingly shifting from cars to light trucks. During 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show, a Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition was showcased, but it didn't reach production line.

If you thought motorcycles were exempt from the onslaught of self-driving technology, you thought wrong.

There is still ways to go before motorcycle safety technologies catch up to the ones already offered in cars-that is if you're the kind of rider who would welcome these systems with open arms.

Autonomous, or driverless, cars are a concept most of us are familiar with and testing has been taking place on public roads.

The prototype machine was developed by graduate engineer, Stefan Hans, and his team and can accelerate away from a standstill, turn corners and stop without a rider on board.

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