Honda's new self-balancing tech defies gravity - Motofire

Honda’s new self-balancing tech defies gravity

…and by not using gyroscopes prove that bikes are more stable than people think.

We’re all familiar with Segways by now. No, not those ridiculous footboards that kids all nagged at their mums and dads about a couple of years ago before they all started exploding, but the self-balancing, ‘future of transport’ that promised an entirely new world but somehow just ushered in a slightly more quirky set of ‘experience days’.

The Segway was revolutionary because it used a series of gyroscopes that kept their unit upright at all times, and other companies have investigated using similar technology in vehicles to varying degrees of success.

Not Honda though.

For their new Riding Assist technology announced at CES this week, Honda eschewed the familiar gyroscopic path citing that they are too heavy and cumbersome for inclusion into a regular, two-wheeled form factor. Instead the tech used comes out of their robotics division – the people responsible for Uni-Cub and Asimo – and have a combination of software and a third motor applied to the front forks doing all of the tricky work.

Steering at low speeds can now be controlled electronically, with the software and sensors picking up and relaying the adjustments required to a small motor making the minute, steering adjustments to the front forks, enabling the whole bike to stay balanced.

So in fact, our headline is entirely misleading – clickbait! – because rather than defy gravity, Honda are using science and algorithmic cleverness to work with it.

There’s also another, extra motor fitted within the front wheel hub that can power the bike if needs be… Something that is rather niftily demonstrated in the demo video when it shows the Honda worker requesting the bike to automatically follow them across the building floor.


Kind of like Tesla’s summon technology, only far more impressive because, motorcycles!

There’s no word at all from Honda on production timelines or even if it’s a technology that could ultimately transfer to the ‘real world’ in its current form, but with Yamaha talking up their Motobot, Kawasaki blindly calling everything that involves a computer ‘A.I’ and Suzuki finally giving us riding aids on our GSXR’s, there’s no doubting that this kind of tech is coming.

Are you ready for your new, robot overlords?


view all posts

Join us as we aim to lift the coverage of motorcycling online. If it's bikes, then it'll be on Motofire. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for all of the latest as well!

More like this...

This hoverbike looks lethal! The latest creation by russian company Hoversurf is cool and everything, but this can't end well can it? This is the Scorpion-3 from Russian drone manufacturer, Hoversurf. It's a single-seat, electri...
The Piaggio Gita is the autonomous, rolling luggage of your future Is this autonomous luggage the future? Piaggio are the group responsible for Vespa. And Aprilia. And Derbi. And Gilera. And Moto-Guzzi. They have a *lot* of vehicle and product design experience and ...
Honda sign-up with Hitachi for electric vehicles Does this mean Honda will achieve their aim of a production, electric motorcycle by 2017? Tucked away quietly in an annual sustainability report from 2015 was a single paragraph that outlined Honda's...
Q: What’s got two wheels, a motor, is utterly terrifying but *isn’t* a motorcycle? A: This! Honda's self-balancing bike has *nothing* on this. First things first. There is no way on God's green earth that we're going to think about swinging a leg over and riding this thing... So any inclin...
Honda go all in on Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles Announcement today in partnership with General Motors pledges $85 million towards mass production of fuel cells. Between them, Honda and GM hold over 2,200 patents with respect to fuel cell technolog...


8 Comments Join the Conversation →

  • @HondaUKBikes looks great… https://t.co/fUzFznMv9r

  • That is awesome. I want a bike that you can’t fall off and looms like Honda (and BMW) are going to deliver

  • Fair point. I like the Lit Motors one as well but I’m sceptical whether it will make it to market before the big manufacturers

  • Angus Farquhar Sadly they will probably vanish, it’s almost impossible to get in on a game full of such massive players.

  • Or get bought for the tech

  • Angus Farquhar True enough

  • @HondaUKBikes fantastic! But I don’t like; I like drive, not it’s drive me.

  • @HondaUKBikes damn!! Great work! Keep it up