Motorrad Vision Next 100: BMW Unveils Crash-Proof Motorcycle [Video]

Motorrad Vision Next 100 is the moniker of a concept motorcycle from BMW. The temporary name literally derives from BMW’s vision for the next 100 years.

The iconic automobile manufacturer is celebrating its 100th birthday. Part of this celebration is an event called “Iconic Impulses. The BMW Group Future Experience.” Magazine Motorrad hosted the show on a four-city tour, which started in Munich, then hit Beijing and London, with its final stop in Los Angeles last Tuesday. The event showcases its newest concept prototype motorcycle, and it is quite a marvel in appearance and design.

The Vision Next 100 looks Tron-inspired. [Image by BMW Group]

Aesthetically, the Motorrad Vision Next 100 resembles a bike pulled straight out of the movie Tron. A carbon fiber upper frame covers all but the rubber on the big front and rear tires in an aggressive and aerodynamic swoop. The engine housing is a large, chrome exclamation point beneath the lightweight Flexframe. In addition to looking beautiful, this Flexframe is one of the innovations that set it apart from other motorcycles.

According to the BMW Blog, the Flexframe has no traditional moving parts.

“Bearings and joints are nowhere to be seen; instead the frame appears as a single, integrated whole. The amount of strength needed to steer depends on the situation: at standstill, the Flexframe allows a light steering whereas at higher speeds it remains very rigid.”

The Motorrad Vision Next 100’s steering may take some getting used to because of the “new steering movements that are very far removed from today’s geometries,” BMW Motorrad’s head of design, Edgar Heinrich, told Wired.

However, the steering mechanics will not make the motorcycle harder to ride. From gyroscopes that keep it upright, even when stationary, to computers that calculate the amount of lean to apply to a turn, the bike is not only novice-friendly, but it is virtually crash-proof.

The Vision Next 100 incorporates a system that uses camera sensors to assist the driver and to detect and prevent collisions. According to Wired, this sensor system, along with the self-balancing system, makes it almost impossible for the bike to wipe out because of rider error.

Rider shows off the Vision Next 100’s self-balancing system. [Image by BMW Group]

“Driver assistance features will continually monitor the environment, the route, the speed, the angle of lean, and myriad other factors, intervening to ensure the rider can’t crash. BMW’s roughly an eternity from actually telling riders to ditch traditional safety gear, but things like traction control, hill start assist, and antilock brakes are already making it harder to kill yourself on two wheels.”

However, it does not completely take control out of the hands of the driver.

“Novice riders will benefit from additional guidance in all riding situations and from a bike that will never tip over,” says BMW. “The balancing systems also work out on the road to ensure a particularly agile and dynamic riding experience with even lighter handling, which seasoned riders will appreciate, and all the benefits of assistance systems to enhance their capabilities even further.”

The Vision Next 100’s systems also allow experienced riders to push their limits by allowing an “agile and dynamic riding experience with even lighter handling.”

BMW was not forthcoming with specs such as horsepower and top speed. The electric boxer engine that accordions in on itself when not running boasts zero emissions, which is good for the environment but suggests a lack of power. However, electric motors have come a long way on horsepower in recent years, so it is too early to discount the Vision’s performance quality just yet.

BMW did not stop with the vehicle when designing the Vision Next 100. The bike incorporates a high-tech set of goggles called “the Visor” that combines augmented reality and eye-tracking technology. When worn, the Visor provides the rider with an on-demand heads-up display (HUD). The display has four designated areas to show information that would normally be available on the instrument panel. By glancing up or down, the rider can change the information displayed, while looking straight ahead turns off the display for undistracted driving.

The Vision Next 100 Visor supplies a HUD that is controlled by eye movements. [Image by BMW Group]

It can even show “banking angle and cornering lines” with a feature called the “Digital Companion.” The Digital Companion will show current and ideal riding angles. The driver can then adjust to the proper lines. If the rider does not correct the angles, the bike will take over and make the corrections itself.

Looking up activates a rear-view function that allows the rider to see behind the motorcycle. When the eyes move down to a normal level, a menu appears which can be interacted with by finger gestures. Looking down between the handlebars causes a map to be displayed showing the bike’s GPS position and chosen route.

Another accessory that BMW designed to go with the Vision Next 100 is a body suit that warms or cools the rider depending on the ambient weather conditions and body temperature.

BMW Blog states that the suit also “provides body support and relief whenever needed.”

For example, at higher speeds the neck section of the suit inflates to provide extra support and comfort for the neck muscles and vertebrae. Sensors within the suit also track pulse rate and body temperature, and provide haptic feedback in instances where the rider needs to be alerted, such as when banking angles are dangerously off ideal lines.

The rider’s suit provides internal climate control, conditional support, and haptic feedback in critical situations. [Image by BMW Group]

It is unknown whether the Visor and body suit will come bundled with the bike or be sold separately, but the goggles seem to be a must-have item. It is also unknown when or even if the Vision Next 100 will make it to market. After all, it is only a concept prototype at the moment, a concept that represents BMW Motorrad’s vision of the future. Despite whether or not the bike makes it to mass production, rest assured that many of its features will be coming to future BMW models.

[Featured Image by BMW Group]

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