Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Expensive, difficult, slightly dangerous, not particularly effective... I'm on a roll.

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AutoPilot Bicycle.

Just pedal
  (+5, -4)
(+5, -4)
  [vote for,

Pretty much as described in the title.

A servo motor on the steering and brakes. GPS intigration. Multiple cameras. An 'inertial measuring device'. All connected to a processer. All powered by you. That's it in a nutshell.

A recumbent bike would work best so you can plug away on your laptop or movie or book, and still keep an eye on the road... (or handwriting, or drawing, or playing guitar, or tying flyfish lures etc. etc.)

Autopilot is not new, but I beleive the application on a bicycle is. Though not totally safe to the surrounding public, it is much safer than a car or truck. We could probably iron out a lot of "kinks" here before we do move on to the heavy weight vehicles.

knowtion, Mar 11 2009

Youtube Search for "DARPA Motorcycle" http://www.youtube....ry=darpa+motorcycle
Video's about a computer guided motorcycle... except the 5th one down.... ... .... [knowtion, Mar 12 2009, last modified Mar 13 2009]

http://www.shweeb.com Not autopilot, but rails do the trick [pashute, Feb 24 2011]


       I think that the grasshopper cycle would be a hell of a lot safer.
normzone, Mar 12 2009

       Planes run on autopilot because the sky is empty, and there are a whole lot of people and machinery on the ground keeping the surrounding sky empty.   

       On the cluttered ground, however, it needs a human pilot.
neelandan, Mar 12 2009

       stationary bikes have already accomplished this 'just pedal' phenomenon. i use one every day at lunch time. great exercise.   

       if you are somehow implying that a cyclist should not have both hands on the handlebars and maintain complete alertness and control of their bicycle, i'm afraid i'm going to have to throw a fishbone in your spokes. i want to believe, but i don't.
k_sra, Mar 12 2009

       I think you're being a bit critical here. Knowtion didn't say you'd use this on a road. It would be quite possible to experiment with such a machine on private land, as people do now with autonomous cars, and a much cheaper way of doing research that's common to both.
Srimech, Mar 12 2009

       This idea would be better applied to cycling bus or train seats, where someone else is steering the whole vehicle for all occupants.   

       However this might work if the bike's camera and computer systems could deal with the tactical (immediate hazards), the legal (following rules set by road markings and the current state of lights) and the strategic (ensuring that lorries and cars are predicted and avoided).
Aristotle, Mar 12 2009

       Idea ammended.
knowtion, Mar 12 2009

       //brought to light ... unfortunately//   


       what is the benefit of having a complicated system do something our bodies already know how to do (ie, lean)?
k_sra, Mar 12 2009

       //1. Hopefully, the rider will sense the system instability upon cornering and lean into the corner without thinking\\   

       I clarified the wording above a bit. The question is whether a rider pre-occupied with a movie or the internet would unconsciously lean when they feel the bicycle turning.
knowtion, Mar 12 2009

       You obviously haven't been following the DARPA Urban Challenge as there WAS a motorcycle entry, though it didn't last long. Also human barely lack the energy to power a OLPC much less anything that an autopilot needs. My research says the average human can put out 120W, I think an OLPC takes 20W and I don't know how much a LIDAR takes. Generally a large part of these cars are taken up by a big generator to handle the power.   

       Also as [neelandan] mentioned, the smaller the vehicle the MORE you have to pay attention. I am a competent bicyclist who is many times smarter than any autopilot and I have come close to death several times on a bicycle thru no fault of my own. To suggest that a servo and a GPS (accurate to 30'!) could guide a bicycle down a road is silly.   

       What about broken glass?
MisterQED, Mar 12 2009

       Much of the leaning on a bicycle is done by steering. To turn to the left, the handle bars are momentarily turned right, which moves the wheels to the right of the centre of gravity. As one starts to fall over to the left, one turns the handle bars left, controlling the fall and directing oneself around the turn. This is all done fairly subconsciously and you have to concentrate to notice it. It's very obvious if you ride through a puddle then make a turn on dry ground, and look at the resultant tracks.   

       Actively leaning the body into a turn by bending at the waist is more about keeping the bicycle relatively upright for better clearance and to keep the tyre tread in better contact with the road.   

       My point is that this could work if the cyclist just sat and pedalled; especially on a recumbant with a back rest (which would also make it easier to keep the hands free to operate all the gadgets).   

       The riderless motorcycle mentioned by [MisterQED] showed that it would be far from easy, however.
spidermother, Mar 12 2009

       @[misterQED] Thankyou very kindly for the info on the DARPA Challenge. I've added a link to video. This system would not require anymore power than that required to turn the steering wheel (should not be significant). The processor would take zilch to power. (Wiki says an average human cyclist can put out 3W/Kg for 1 hr). BTW, what is a "OLPC"? As far as guidance goes, I specifically mentioned camera integration. The camera would detect obstacles. The GPS would be for navigation and known obstacle avoidance, since it is easily accurate to 1ft. (yes, 1ft. wiki GPS... I also know this from personal experience.) Broken glass can be avoided by cameras. (and automatically swept into an optional, tow behind road grooming trailer)   

       @[spidermother] Agreed. The steering is what creates the lean, and corrects the lean. Not vice-versa. This is explained well @ 1:03 of the NOVA video. Recumbent would *probably* be best. Idea updated on both counts   

       I'm also going to throw in an "inertial measurement unit" as mentioned at 1:51 of the 'team blue ghostrider' video.
knowtion, Mar 13 2009

       The only idea in Vehicle:Bicycle with bones. (Now down to one bone. [+] for your halfname.
pashute, Feb 24 2011


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