Most of the attention for automated vehicles has been directed at cars and trucks.
But plans for a new self-driving bike shows designers haven’t forgotten about two wheels.
Called the Cyclotron, the futuristic concept vehicle could transport two passengers at a time, with neither having to worry about the road ahead.
Designs for the two-wheeler – which looks like a cross between the vehicles from Sci-Fi movies Tron and Minority Report – illustrate a face to face ride, where the passengers could get acquainted while zipping around the city.
In an article for Wired, mechanical engineer Charles Bombardier explained the concept vehicle would maintain stability using a gyroscope, keeping it upright even once it has come to a stop.
‘Two passengers would sit facing one another, given a rare chance to relax, chat, and get to know one another,’ he said.
The electric vehicle design is aimed at ‘minimising the human footprint’ and would be able to run in all seasons, with the electric motor driving both wheels for improved traction in the winter.
Bombardier developed the concept with industrial designer Ashish Thulkar, and explained the design was inspired by the Tron light cycle and the C1 prototype vehicle from Lit Motors.
Cyclotron would recharge wirelessly and could potentially buy and sell electricity in real time with other vehicles, depending on price fluctuations.
Inside, the vehicle looks a little cosy, with its two passengers sat face to face.
But the addition of adjustable seats would ensure enough leg and head room, with passengers getting in and out through butterfly doors, making the concept bike look like a futuristic insect.
The Canadian engineer believes the vehicles would help to reduce congestion on the roads, due to their reduced width, which could also reduce energy consumption for the commute compared with existing electric cars.
In his blog, Bombardier catalogues a number of concept vehicles aimed at inspiring future generations of designers.
More than 200 concept cars, bikes, planes trains and space vehicles have already been designed with industrial engineers from around the world.