We're getting closer to robots every day!
When Arthur C. Clarke said “sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” he probably didn’t have motorcycles in mind. This new self-balancing electric scooter from the Indian startup company Liger might be teetering on that edge, though. Unless you have a lot of experience with gyroscopic forces, this kind of thing looks like impossible science fiction.
I’d be tempted to agree with you! We’ve seen this before though, from manufacturers like BMW and its self-riding GS. It is all made possible with gyroscopes controlled by microprocessors.. Note that you’ll still have to be careful with a self-balancing motorcycle or scooter like this; it will still have a “point of no return” so if you kick it hard enough while it’s parked, it will fall over.
Think of the ramifications, though: a small, self-riding scooter that comes to you when you “call” it could be a great solution for city parking (protection from theft will be the next nut to crack). As it is, it will already be a great solution for riders who are losing strength as they age, or people with a disability which prevents them from riding a heavier bike, or balancing a motorcycle at all.
The motorcycle-riding cohort in the United States is aging, and that is an unfortunate reality. Anything that will keep people on two wheels longer into their golden years will be a boon for the industry. Something like this scooter could also appeal to folks in a younger generation who may be intimidated by a large, heavy motorcycle. It might just be a great, friendly entrée into the sport. Unfortunately, this scooter and its team of creators are currently located in India, and their expected target market is domestic. If they find great success in their own continent, maybe we’ll see them arrive on our shores, or a larger corporation will commit to developing their own self-balancing motorcycles with more enthusiasm.
The Liger scooter is not in production yet. The one in the video is a prototype. The company has not announced potential pricing yet. We’ll be keeping an eye on them, though, because this kind of magic looks like fun!