MIT shows a bicycle that rides itself
American engineers have assembled a prototype of a bicycle that can ride both under human control and without it: for this purpose, the two rear wheels tilt and turn the bicycle into a tricycle. The developers suggest that this type of transport could be used for bicycle rental services, so that bicycles would not be located at the stations, but would come to the customers themselves.
Over the past decade, many major cities around the world have seen the emergence of urban short-term bike rental systems that can be quickly picked up at one point in the city and dropped off at another. Most of the time, they work like fixed stations: there are automatic stations all over the city or its center, and you can pick up and drop off your bike only at those stations. Such a system is easy to maintain and also easy for many people to use because people remember the location of the stations in their area. But it also means that you can’t pick up or drop off a bicycle at the door like you can with a personal bicycle.
A prototype bicycle that can move without a person
Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have unveiled a prototype bicycle that can move without a person, thereby removing the need for fixed stations. It is based on an ordinary folding bicycle with two wheels. Engineers split the rear triangle of the frame and installed two wheels instead of one. This allows the side frames to diverge and move the wheels away from each other so that the bicycle maintains an upright position while riding on its own.
The current version can ride forward and turn, but under operator control, not autonomously. Nevertheless, the authors showed in a video what service with such bikes could look like. In the video, you can see how the prototype comes to a person on its own and changes the configuration.
A similar scheme is proposed for electric scooter rentals. Last year, Segway-Ninebot introduced a production model of a three-wheeled scooter with an autonomous control system. Technically, the scooter is capable of coming to a call, but the manufacturer suggests using its capabilities differently and returning it to the station after the user has left the scooter away from it.
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