Honda unveiled a new self-balancing motorcycle concept at the Consumer Electronics Show. The Honda Riding Assist can keep a motorcycle upright at slow speeds.
Instead of using gyroscopes to keep balance, Riding Assist uses Honda’s robotics technology which helps to keep the weight down compared to heavy gyros. The technology is actually an evolution of the system used in Honda’s UNI-CUB
robot penguins self-balancing personal mobility device. Steering at low speeds is controlled electronically, with a small motor making steering adjustments to keep the motorcycle in balance. A mechanism under the headlight with a separate motor extends the rake angle at low speed, giving the front end negative trail and making it easier to balance at slow speeds or even at a stand-still.
A demo video shows the technology at work, including a self-driving mode that can make a motorcycle move on its own via a third electric motor in the front wheel hub.
The concept is based on a Honda NC model, but the Riding Assist technology is contained entirely in the front end, so Honda claims the system can theoretically be adapted to fit any existing model.
“They’re showing application for rider assistance, especially new riders to help with low-speed balancing or without having to put input in the bars to keep the bike upright,” says Tony Defranze, American Honda’s media rep. “We’re also thinking about if we could use this technology on big bikes like a Gold Wing.”