Imagine how much fun it would be if two-wheelers could be ridden without having to put extra effort to balance them as we do it normally.
Scooty and motorbikes are a very common commuting platform and are the backbone of India’s automotive industry, especially among youngsters. The most seasoned bike riders would agree how challenging it often becomes when it comes to balancing a heavy bike, while parking and/or at sharp turns.
Imagine a motorcycle that auto-corrects its balance, mitigating risks and offering a seamless ride, even during halts or slow speeds. In such a day and age a self-balancing in vehicles can be a game-changer. It’s a fun element that is possible now with the electric vehicle technology across the two-wheeler category. This not only addresses rider safety but also fosters confidence among prospective young buyers.
Let’s dive into the key technology that enables self-balancing vehicles, their merits and key players embracing the same.
Without the use of AI: International players such as Honda, BMW, Harley Davidson, etc. use a technology in which subtle adjustments are made, particularly in the front fork of the motorcycle which links the handlebars to the front wheels. When the bike slows down to speeds less than 4 kmph, the fork angle shifts, bringing the front wheel slightly forward. This minute change activates the self-balancing system which then consistently makes side adjustments, ensuring the bike doesn’t topple over.
Traditional bikes lean towards the direction of the front wheels, and motorcycles equipped with self-balancing technology lean in the opposite
direction, always ensuring a stable stance.
With the use of AI: Using AI algorithms, the Center of Gravity of the vehicle is dynamically shifted to ensure that the vehicle stays balanced. The processor collects over 9000 data points per second from the vehicle which are processed using the AI algorithms which ensure that the vehicle stays balanced when self-balance is activated.
The data points are gathered by the processor via multiple sensors placed around the scooter. The algorithm uses and leverages gyroscopic
principles to ensure the vehicle remains upright. Also, the self-balancing remains enabled for up to 5-7 kmph increasing riding comfort. The
system goes on standby after the 7kmph threshold and reactivates at lower speeds
Effortless parking. These vehicles can be used to park vehicles in cramped and congested spaces and are easier to come out of
Personal Mobility Assistance. Self-balancing technology can be integrated into devices designed to assist people with mobility challenges, providing a more stable and user-friendly alternative to traditional mobility aids
Easy Usage of heavy bikes. Bikes which are used for rides across the country can be as heavy as 250 kgs and balancing such bikes is difficult especially when slowing down at a red light. Self-balancing can overcome this problem
Open a gate for AVs. Self-balancing technology can be further used to make AVs which can increase safety and comfort. BMW has been using the technology of Self-balancing to make AVs
Sensor Integration: These sensors can detect the vehicle’s orientation, tilt, and angular velocity. The data from these sensors are continuously monitored by the vehicle’s software to determine its position and make real-time adjustments.
Motor Control: In self-balancing two-wheelers, electric motors are often controlled by electronic systems. The software can regulate the power sent to the motors based on the input from sensors and control algorithms.
Machine Learning: Advanced self-balancing systems can incorporate machine learning algorithms to adapt to the rider’s behavior over time. This allows the vehicle to optimize its performance based on individual preferences and riding styles.
Honda: Honda has stepped into the self-balancing technology with its innovative Riding Assist technology. Opting to reinvent rather than refine, Honda’s technology is a recognition of engineering finesse, emphasizing function and rider experience.
Instead of using a gyroscope, Honda’s Riding Assist system hinges on a variable rake angle of the front wheel, combined with a motorized
Smartly conceptualized, as speed increases, so does the wheelbase, establishing a positive rake angle for stability. But when the motorcycle
cruises at laid-back velocities or confronts sharp bends, the rake dives into the negative territory, pulling back the wheelbase. This allows for
quick responses and heightened control, maintaining the bike’s balance in tougher conditions.
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW): BMW has a distinctive approach to self-balancing EVs with its autonomous R 1200 GS. The R 1200 GS showcases a dynamic capability as it can actually ride off, pick up speed, navigate around a test track, and decelerate to a halt entirely autonomously.
Unlike the other motorcycles detailed previously, the R 1200 GS’s self-balancing function isn’t merely about consistent motion. The bike needs
momentum to propel itself, and it can come to a stop independently.
Liger Mobility: Liger Mobility’s two self-balancing electric scooter models, Liger X and Liger X+, both feature self-balancing technology which can be turned off by the rider after crossing a certain speed. They feature learner mode, live location tracking, battery temperature indicators, towing alerts and accident alerts, and are also capable of receiving over-the-air (OTA) software updates.
The introduction of self-balancing technology will boost the electric two-wheeler market by attracting new riders and riders with disabilities. Commercial mobility businesses such as last-mile delivery and ride-sharing are likely to enjoy lower operating costs linked to a significant reduction in vehicle damages from falls, mishandling in parking lots, unstable vehicles during loading/unloading of cargo and loss of balance at low speeds.