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Does Your Motorcycle Listen to You? Kawasaki Developing Artificial Intelligence in Bikes.

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Kawasaki has announced that it is working on motorcycles containing artificial intelligence (AI) which will allow a rider/machine dialog that will result in a motorcycle that understands the rider and conforms to his wishes and skill level.

I guess we saw this coming with all of the electronic aids being placed on bikes these days. We already have the ability to customize the way motorcycles react to differing circumstances. The latest superbikes (Yamaha’s R1 is an example) have multiple settings for multiple characteristics like traction control, wheelie control, braking, engine maps, etc. Kawasaki is trying to integrate such features with rider preferences communicated through natural language and other means to an AI-capable ECU. In effect, Kawasaki wants the motorcycle to learn what the rider prefers and is capable of from a skill standpoint.

What do you think? Would you like to ride a motorcycle that can automatically adjust its settings based on a profile it develops of you as a rider?


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50 Comments

  1. JustANomad says:

    If this ever reaches Beta, maybe I can volunteer my wife for a little fine tuning!

  2. Lenz says:

    Perhaps again answering “questions” that no one asked.

    Manufacturers appear to want to push development further into making motorcycling more like exploring the full functionality of your phone when for the vast majority of users, more electronic complexity is NOT what people want to pay for.

    Improve suspension length with tough componentry, build light strong frames and engines, build light strong wheels etc etc etc. Ease up on the gadgetry and build light strong powerful and efficient motorcycles that handle REAL B grade roads well.

  3. Wendy says:

    But I don’t speak Japanese.

  4. MotoMaster39 says:

    How the heck do they expect the bike to understand someone speaking with a helmet on? And honestly, if you can’t adjust your suspension with a screwdriver, and your electronic assists with a knob, you’re probably not the type of person who’s gonna ride a motorcycle: you’ll probably feel more comfortable in your 4 wheeled swiss army cage.

  5. Mitch says:

    AI will infer on-line. Once we allow “on-line” then your location, activities, speeds, etc will be available in virtual real-time. As such, legally can be used against you in the event of an “incident”. Thus, doing away with the need of permissions to gather data …… so, your speeding ticket is in the mail. …. oh my.

    • Bob says:

      Yup, and the fine print in insurance policies will be changed to take advantage of it, and not in a manner that benefits the insured.

  6. Norm G. says:

    yup, it’s all fun and games till the bloody thing becomes SELF AWARE.

  7. SausageCreature says:

    I, for one, welcome our new motorcycle overlords.

  8. Fuzzyson1 says:

    Two words for motorcycle manufacturers on the subject: PLEASE DON’T!

  9. clasqm says:

    Where else can they go? We’ve reached the point where extracting extra horsepower from engines would lead to a ban on motorcycles (note that the insane H2R is a track-only machine). Handling has been pretty much sorted so where else is a factory going to distinguish itself from the competition if not whizz-bang electronics? And once it exists, it will trickle down into lower-specced models, like ABS did and like TC is doing already.

    It’s OK, Kawasaki, I understand. Just one little thing: LET ME SWITCH THE DAMN THING OFF!

    • Bob says:

      “so where else is a factory going to distinguish itself from the competition if not whizz-bang electronics?”

      How about “Bold and exciting new colors!!” Harley got away with it on new models for decades. 😉

      • Tim says:

        And they still do (get away with it)…and they’re wildly successful. I would prefer to see them break out of their cruiser only mode, but from a marketing standpoint, you can’t argue with their results.

  10. Bill in FL says:

    Go Go gadget wheelie…..damn

  11. Don E. says:

    Kawasaki would do better trying to build motorcycles that compete in the current market. The should also take a trip to the paint store to look for more colors other than matte black and the occasional sickly green.

    • Silver says:

      STFU you have no idea what you’re talking about. Their bikes are at the top in every performance category.

  12. Provologna says:

    “…Frankly, Scarlet, I don’t give a damn!…”
    Rhett Butler, Gone With The Wind

    • VFRMarc says:

      Actually, Rhett says “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”. Most think it’s your way because of comedians, impersonators, etc. .

  13. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    No, thanks.
    I’ll do it the old-fashioned way.

  14. Jack Lange says:

    Technology marches on. I’m thankful for that and the options available.

  15. Mick says:

    I wonder if you will eventually be able to get Kawa Q Firefox stuff. All you have to do is think of weapons to deploy in Japanese and the bad guy goes south, like, forever.

    Or maybe a Whoe Go app. If you are heading for an unlikely place to find a playmate, your bike runs like crap. Headed Xanado? The thing rocks hard core.

  16. joe b says:

    My VFR1200 DCT already has algorithms that help it understand when to up or downshift. Having it for some time now, it does seem to know what I want, sometimes. Glad it has the up/down buttons, and manual shift over-ride. Thank heavens for the TC. I think a lot of bikes already have some sort of sophistication (an argument can be made that they don’t learn)that we have little understanding of when or exactly how it works. Mid eighties the Honda Gold wing had 5 computers. I wont bring up the kick start argument. “Alexa”… play Pandora, AC/DC. “Getting AC/DC from Pandora now”. How long will it be before it infiltrates cars, and eventually motorcycles.

  17. ABQ says:

    Another way for the police to track us and give us tickets when we go too fast.
    Maybe they will even shut down the bike remotely. No thanks, and no GPS navigation.

  18. Bob Goff says:

    This site is always good to read, just in case i want to see what the average 58-year-old motorcyclist Luddite thinks about the latest news.

    If you people hate progress and technology so much, why are you crusty curmudgeons doing on the internet in the first place?

    • Tank says:

      How else are we going to order our Viagra?

    • VFRMarc says:

      Well Bobby-boy, this crusty 75 Y/O thinks it’s a great idea. The possibilities are mind boggling. With all the open communication offered by the almighty net, improvements will be endless and privacy won’t be a concern.

    • Bart says:

      If it can bluetooth-transmit a disabling virus to the Rushmore Project hogs that won’t get the hell out of the way, I’m in.

  19. Ron H. says:

    At least we lived in the best days of motorized freedom. Soon it’ll ALL be controlled. Maybe they’ll start “chipping” babies like we do pets too. “It’s for your own good”… yeah right. AI… there’s a reason it’s called artificial.

  20. Gutterslob says:

    RE: What do you think? Would you like to ride a motorcycle that can automatically adjust its settings based on a profile it develops of you as a rider?
    Pro tip: Anything that “profiles” is not to be trusted. Ever!!

    • Joe says:

      I would like to think my riding is progessing and therefore changing as I learn and grow as s rider.
      I wouldn’t want my bike thinking for me and “presuming” that I’d do one thing when I want to do something different.
      Seems to me it’s the antithesis of the sense of freedom that riding inspires.
      Don’t need that kind of control !

  21. dino says:

    computers should be used for what they are good at… Crunching lots of data and numbers, and that is it. The wet dream that software programmers want to have AI on their systems, in the name of “helping” us is just intellectual masturbation. They just want to say they can do it.

    Computers are great at Fuel injection (crunch the data from the sensors, and deliver just the right amount of fuel). They are great at antilock brakes and even traction control, for the same reason.. But everytime I try to get my Electronic auto transmission in my cars to do something that should be easy, they just fall flat. (when I want to speed up a little, why does it downshift three gears, then upshift right away??)

    That is what I like about my cycle. It does what I TELL it to do. Nothing more. Nothing less. And I love it. My personal car is also a manual transmission for the same reason, it does what I TELL it to do (but my work cars are all automatics of course, and I can only tolerate them!).

    The extent of “intelligence” that should be added to a motorcycle should only be in the form of traffic notification (Traffic highway automation, so those driverless cars KNOW a cycle is there). And that is it. The moment you are leaned over in a corner and the CPU is guessing what you want to do, or how hard you really intended to brake or throttle… No! Programmers, knock it off already!

  22. Bob says:

    Insurance companies everywhere are smiling.

  23. Frank says:

    For riders who frequently take chances and ride fast on the street and/or track, all the new ‘nanny’ electronic systems will come in handy sooner or later. For the rest of us who rarely if ever ride at or on our own personal edge, these things are unnecessary.

  24. orbit398 says:

    What happen to the free spirit of just riding a motorcycle? Skill is what it’s about. The faster you want to go, the better rider you’d better be or else it’s going to hurt. All this electronic crap will just add cost and be more expensive to maintain. And what causes that could come from something screwing up. Just look at Tesla’s self driving car and what happened there. Some items are ok but man, where will it stop. Just my two cents. Think some of the greatest riders were back in the 90’s when they had to tame an RZ500 two stoke in MotoGP. It was all rider/bike feedback and huge balls……

  25. Starmag says:

    Kawasaki would do much better to use the energy to make beautiful bikes again rather than waste the time on even more electronic gizmos that the motorcycling community is trending away from, witness the success of the Ducati Scrambler. It seems people want simpler, not ever more complex and hard to service by the owner.

  26. Tom R says:

    Since my riding skills peaked many years ago and have been waning ever since, and bikes have steadily improved, a future motorcycle with artificial intelligence would feel bored and under-utilized with me riding it.

    I just hope that it won’t make fun of me.

  27. Just stop it already. I don’t WANT automation in my motorcycle. I don’t WANT electric drive trains. I ride for the visceral experience. I ride because I am in control, not looking to be caged and controlled.

  28. xLaYN says:

    It has kinda been there for a long time in the form of maps, ABS, traction control and similar…

    • xLaYN says:

      Dirck,
      There are some bugs with the implementation of the comments.
      I originally deleted the comment as noted it basically repeat your comments about Yamaha, now it’s up.
      On the other hand if you edit and update it does delete it…
      We may use some space between the reply button and the Report Post too.

  29. Joe S says:

    Will it be named KITT?

  30. Tim says:

    If it makes bikes safer and more convenient, that’s great, but I do worry about escalating costs as this sort of technology becomes more widespread. I hope they keep motorcycling affordable for the masses.

  31. Bob says:

    Best answer yet to the question that was never asked.

  32. mickey says:

    For a lot of us, our motorcycles not like to hear what we are saying. Besides that, there are many whose skill level comes no where near the capability of the bike they are riding. I can see it now.. rider: bike take this series of esses at 80 mph. Bike: but sir you only have the talent to take this series of esses at 45 mph.