Kawasaki Wants to Bring Artificial Intelligence to Motorcycles

Future bikes could talk to their riders—and keep an eye on them. 

byAaron Brown|
Kawasaki Wants to Bring Artificial Intelligence to Motorcycles

If you only happen to be staying with your significant other because you want someone to chat with on motorcycle rides, your weirdly-specific worry may not be relevant much longer. Kawasaki is developing artificial intelligence for motorcycle that will enable future bikes to chat with their riders, and even allow them to control the cycles using their voice. 

The system Kawasaki is developing is called the "Kanjo Engine," kanjo translating  to "emotion" in English. Though currently in early stages of development, Kawasaki's new technology is being created with the intent of understanding human speech, monitoring rider status, and generally being a genial companion for its rider. It should even be able to accelerate or brake based on voice commands, according to CNET

This project taken on by Kawasaki reminds us at The Drive of the robot-driven motorcycle concept Yamaha showed off at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Though the new Kawasaki project and Yamaha's robot-bike exist on two different sides of the robot/artificial intelligence spectrum, it's still interesting to see how these two motorcycle companies are focusing on integrating the autonomous driving technology and other driver assistance systems that have taken over the automotive world into the realm of two-wheeled riding machines. 

But if you'll forgive us a moment of philosophical thinking...when does all this electronic assistance start to defeat the purpose? Are motorcycles still motorcycles—are they still worth riding—if computers are taking over the experience? Realistically, Yamaha's robot tech isn't destined for consumer bikes, but Kawasaki's Kanjo Engine seems likely to become reality sooner or later. Could rider status monitors and automatically-adjusting controls ruin the experience? Or will they open up the riding world to new realms of people previously afraid to hop on the saddle?

Let us know what you think in the comments.