Google requests to test riderless robot motorcycles

Prototype that balances and steers without a rider has already been built

Posted: 13 August 2014
by Visordown News

Levandowski with 'Ghostrider'

GOOGLE has written to the California state government requesting permission to test riderless motorcycles on public roads.

The firm’s driverless car project remains in its prototype stage despite autonomously clocking up over one million kilometres. However, documents reveal how Google wants to extend its permission to use driverless cars to other types of vehicles, including motorcycles and trucks.

A prototype motorcycle that balances and steers without a rider has already been built by Google engineers.

Anthony Levandowski, Google engineer and creator of the riderless ‘Ghostrider’ motorbike, had groups protesting outside his home in January over his involvement with the project and his links to Boston Dynamics - a military robotics contractor acquired by Google last year.

Ron Medford, the director of safety for Google’s self-driving car programme, wrote in his letter to the Californian government: ‘It is certainly possible that future testing could include motorcycles or larger commercial vehicles.

‘If some innovator can demonstrate that testing autonomous technology on such vehicles is safe, then they should be allowed to test.’

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Discuss this story

I understand a car that doesn't need driving so you can play UNO with the family in the meantime. But a riderless bike? I hope they mean one that 'doesn't need manual steering'. It would be interesting to see how they deal with the bike's balance while it is not on the go.

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 11:28

So, in a world that is lacking in jobs for the ever growing population - google wants to create robots that can effectively remove every driving job from the logistics sector, the taxi sector, the public transport sector and many, many others. Where will all these displaced people work?

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 12:42

What would the market be for robobikes?

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 12:59

Obviously not a personnel transportation solution.
The word 'military' in the article makes me think of mx battle droids. Wouldn't it be terrible if one got loose and started wiping out ramblers?

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 13:44

I'm struggling to think of a useful application for this tech...? I mean, under what circumstances would less wheels be better?

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 13:49

Just wait till some terrorist group hacks this tech to use them for a mobile bomb. There will be job adverts for suicide bombers then! :P

Even a pizza delivery boy will bring the pizza up the block of flats to your door but this would have to wait outside for you to come down to get your pizza, not practical!

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 15:49


Posted: 13/08/2014 at 16:32

Oh, Americans will love this, instead of the perilous danger of riding a bike, one can simply use a bike app whilst eating melted cheese on a sofa. Why? Because America.

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 18:41

Project of killing fun everywhere.

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 20:55

These things driving around would basically be blind and totally stupid in comparison to a person driving.

Posted: 14/08/2014 at 03:30

Military and government applications!
The terminators are coming...

Posted: 14/08/2014 at 07:16

Great, means i could ride my bike to the pub and let it bring me back :)

Posted: 14/08/2014 at 11:48

Not under current UK legislation, you'll still be drunk and in charge. There's no requirement to actually be driving/riding.

Anyway, it turns out that it's twonk, Google have no such plans. They just want ALL potential restrictions removed on what they can develop, trial and sell.

Posted: 14/08/2014 at 12:46

It's obviously the next step for MotoGP.

Posted: 14/08/2014 at 17:00

I hear Honda have already lodged five pre-emptive technical complaints. ;)

Posted: 14/08/2014 at 20:18

Harley owners have been testing riderless motorcycles for years. You see Harleys heading down the road, strapped to trailers, with no rider aboard all the time.

Posted: 15/08/2014 at 18:50

What's going to happen to SMIDSY? There won't be anyone for the cage drivers to injure, maim and kill.

Posted: 21/08/2014 at 22:02

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