Facebook has applied for a patent for what they call a robotic self-balancing electric motorcycle, although it looks more like a mobility skateboard than a motorcycle.
However, that doesn’t mean that the company won’t move into the motorcycle industry at some later stage.
After all, most electric motorcycle companies are basically technology start-ups, not traditional motorcycle companies which are dragging the chain on electric bikes.
The Facebook patent is for the gyroscopic drive system and the machine does not yet have any steering mechanism or body.
However, Facebook is not the first to consider self-riding motorcycles.
Honda, Yamaha and BMW Motorrad have also developed self-balancing robotic motorcycle prototypes.
While many riders are horrified by the prospect of self-riding motorcycles, there could be a use for them in the courier and delivery industries.
The robotic bikes are also being used to test interaction with self-driving vehicles without endangering the lives of test riders.
The Facebook device has small wheels that can turn 360 degrees, so it wouldn’t be suitable for road speeds.
However, it could be useful for helping couriers or fast food deliverers to operate in an urban environment.
The patent application says: “The control loop stabiliser may include sensors for detecting balancing input. The balancing input may include information indicative of the linear velocity and angular velocity of the robotic motorcycle, the linear velocity and angular velocity of each wheel, and/or the orientation of each wheel.”
The technology could also underpin future electric two-wheelers.
It features two electric motors that belt drive the wheels, so it’s two-wheel-drive and two-wheel-steer.
Since it’s a Facebook product, it will probably also track where you go!
- What do you think of the development of self-riding motorcycles and scooters? Leave your comments below.