15 October 2016
by Joe Alvarez
BMW introduced its vision of the future of motorcycling on Tuesday — a sleek concept bike that's self-balancing.
With the help of gyroscopes, the rider never has to put down a foot. The sleek, black bike is supposed to stay upright even when it is standing still. It was ridden into an aircraft hangar here and did a round on a turntable as a demonstration.
The demo was the last stop in a worldwide tour for BMW, which has introduced three concept cars to go with it: a Rolls-Royce that looks like a praying mantis, a futuristic Mini and a BMW. All go to the theme of what BMW will be like in 100 years, but officials say some of the technologies, including self-driving in the cars, are far more near term. "The world is rapidly changing. New solutions are needed," said BMW Board of Management Chairman Harald Krüger. BMW's goal, he says, is to "shape tomorrow's premium mobility" — an integration of vehicles and technology.
The U.S. remains critical to the vision, he says, as "the second home to BMW." He pointed to the company's factory in Spartanburg, S.C., as an example "that shows our commitment to the U.S. is real and long term." He saluted the plant as one of the largest for BMW and a leading exporter of vehicles around the world.
In showing off the new BMW Motorrad Vision motorcycle, the point was to show how the rider will take advantage of emerging technology. Special glasses allow riders to see critical information without having to look down. And no helmet or any other protective gear should be needed, BMW contends, because the bike is intelligent enough to avoid accidents and hazards.
BMW shares its vision for the next 100 years: