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London team puts together riderless bike prototype

What about potholes? Who’ll pick it up should it fall over?

We often report on driverless cars. London-based startup, Sparky Automotive, has reportedly now produced a prototype riderless bike.

Green Car Congress reports that Sparky was initially working on a three-door electric hatchback, but has since switched its focus. The firm’s technical director, Martin Langley, suggests that riderless bikes could be employed to collect goods and make deliveries.

“If you think about it, controlling an electric bike remotely is not really very different from controlling a drone. There is also the advantage that nobody is irritatingly overflown by a road bike so licensing is simplified too.

“After some thought we also realised that there are a surprising number of uses for a device like this. Simple examples being collection of shopping for the elderly and disabled, and rapid delivery of small packages without the expense of a driver.”

Sparky Automotive says the vehicle would be controlled remotely. Handlebar-mounted cameras would upload video via a wireless internet connection to ‘virtual riders’ who would operate the bike’s servos to control speed and direction.

The bike would also employ electronic gyroscope technology similar to that used in a Segway and the prototype is said to be able to negotiate traffic lights, junctions and pedestrian crossings all on its own.

The project conjures images of autonomous bikes effortlessly gliding around – much like those seen in last year’s striking riderless bike video by Cycling Canada from which the image accompanying this article was taken. The photo we’ve seen used in other sites’ news stories about the prototype looks rather less stylish.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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