The future of motorcycling is here: The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100
On Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif., BMW Group debuted a motorcycle concept so artificially intelligent that it eliminates the need for the rider to wear protective gear, including a helmet.
The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 motorcycle is the latest incarnation of BMW’s Vision Next series, which celebrates 100 years of the German brand with forward-looking concept vehicles from Rolls-Royce, Mini, and BMW. The group has been hosting events around the world this year to debut each new concept in a different city. California’s event, held in an old airplane hangar, displayed the motorcycle along each of the group’s other previously shown concepts. This is the fourth and final of its concepts to be shown.
According to BMW, the “flexframe” extends from the front to the rear wheel of the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100. It allows the bike to be steered without the various joints found on today’s motorcycles. Turning the handlebar adjusts the entire frame, changing the direction of the bike.
At least according to BMW, it’s a bike that has self-balancing systems to keep it upright both when standing (a boon for novice riders, on par with training wheels for bicycles) and in motion (beneficial for experienced riders who want erudite handling at high speed). Several systems—one BMW calls a “Digital Companion,” which offers riding advice and adjustment ideas to optimize the experience, and one called “The Visor,” which is a pair of glasses that span the entire field of vision and are controlled by eye movements—correlate to return active feedback about road conditions to the rider while adjusting the ride of the bike continuously depending on the rider’s driving style. (Sure beats today’s motorcycle touchscreen technology.)