Gyroscopically stabilized car/motorcycle thing

So yeah, this thing exists. Well, at least some pretty interesting looking prototypes of it do. It’s the C-1 from Lit Motors (anyone else think that’s a reference which belongs in /r/trees?). The idea here is that the small form-factor of a motorcycle is very efficient and easily¬†maneuverable. But the cage protecting the passenger from harm, and the canopy keeping the elements out give it some of the desirable traits of a car.

Design aside, check out the video after the break. The prototype uses two horizontally positioned gyroscopes placed beneath the passenger seat, just in front of the rear wheel. The builders take it out on a hockey rink and give it a few kicks and slide a few tires into it. Sure, it reacts to the impact but it doesn’t fall over.

Want to see some fast-motion welding of the C-1? Right now there’s a one-minute clip up on the company’s main page.

[via Reddit]

Comments

  1. davidmitchell836 says:

    Hmmmm… C1… Sounds familiar..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_C1

  2. b1r6m4n says:

    clit motors?

  3. M says:

    Speaking of gyroscopically balanced motorbikes, Audi’s new prototype moped has a wheelie mode which treats the bike like a Segway on the back wheel.

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120518/GREEN/120519790

  4. alistair says:
  5. Haku says:

    That design seems a little familiar…

    • Rob says:

      And you expected what? A hovercraft? A two wheel platform with this sort of expected duty is going to have strong similarities across all models, as long as it is used in earth-like environments. Of course they look similar, *they’re motorcycles*! Likewise, a four wheel platform with a transportation duty is going to have strong similarities across all models.

      Saying this looks like the bike from Tron is essentially the same as saying that a Camry looks like a Elantra. Of course they look similar… *they’re cars*!!!

      • Haku says:

        A car looks like another car? No shit!

        I was saying “familiar”, not identical FFS. I somehow doubt the wheels would have those lights in if the Tron bikes hadn’t been put into existence.

    • Hitek146 says:

      Really, though, now that you mention it, someone should create a full scale Lightcycle!

      Oh, wait, looks like there is one here, but I would love to see the old one with a full canopy…

      http://singularityhub.com/2011/10/26/tron-light-cycle-is-real-and-ready-for-the-streets-and-you-can-win-one/

  6. BitMage says:

    That blurb in the picture has the writing quality of a Hack-a-Day Article.

  7. Yet another skillfully photo-shopped collection of renderings passed off as actual working prototypes.

    Rolling smart phone? Please. Many newer passenger vehicles (and trucks) have multiple microphones installed in the cabin, and newer onstar equipped vehicles now have excellent video capture ability.

    Going to be very cool when your smart phone can tell you not just where your car is parked, but lets you embarrass your kids by uploading the comedy of their prom night antics to their facebook.

    I wonder if insurance companies will give breaks to customers who let them record and analyze your in-car conversations when it’s time to renew? Or penalize people who let dogs ride in the car?

    The future is going to be so awesome!

    • Haku says:

      The rendering, like most concept ideas I’ve seen, does kinda show off a product too well that doesn’t yet exist.

      But they have made a life sized mock up that the woman gets into in the above video, and here’s another video of the “car/motorcycle thing”:

      I do like the idea of the gyroscopic stabilisation, some guy put a powered gyroscope into a kid’s bike wheel to help kids learn to ride without the bolt-on stabilisers and it worked pretty well.

    • Eniac says:

      THIS!
      Exactly what is privacy now?

  8. thebes42 says:

    OK, the gyros can keep it upright on ice if it is kicked. A kick really isn’t that powerful.

    What happens at 73mph on the beltway when a smart-phone tweeting cager plows into it with an SUV? Does it highside and fall apart in the resulting tumbles?

    I don’t know about others, but I’d prefer to balance my bike on my own until these have been on the road at least a decade.

    • Derp says:

      With a scissored pair of CMGs you can actually force a lowside for safety during the crash. Anything this small in a high speed crash isn’t going to fare well, but if it gets people away from the necessity of dragging around thousands of extra pounds of car along with them everywhere then I’m all for it.

  9. Bacchus says:

    Is no one going to crack the funeral precession joke?

  10. Cyril says:

    “Rolling Smart Phone”????

    FAP-fest alert!!!!

  11. fartface says:

    Yup a ripoff of the BMW C1. and honestly WHY gyroscope stabilize? why not just make it a trike?

    http://www.rqriley.com/tri-mag.html If you want to build one right now for cheaper and have it on the road way before they even road test the first full scale demo unit.

  12. echodelta says:

    I read up on the Russian model from a century ago, and others. Nowhere on the web does the 1965 zine cover don’t remember the name. One of those small format pulp science type not Pop Sci. Sleek enclosed and in development, haven’t seen of it since.

  13. nah! says:

    so they patented something they didnt invent
    so the patent is defeasible.

    also why is there a cap on the cargo bike 0_o.
    i would have just put a big basked on a motor on a wheel and on the backside handles, and a hinge where the seat is attached to

    • Erik Johansson says:

      Indeed Cargo bicycles manage to transport a lot more than a total of 300 pounds, with out that top on (my record is ~250kg (~500 pounds). Sure it’s not easy to take on a high curb with that weight.

      But the folding cargo moped seems pretty cool…

  14. Solenoid says:

    I for one love this idea, I really hope something comes out of it. It seems people commenting here are more worried about their masculinity and are unable to appreciate the pure awesomeness of this project.

  15. neodudeman says:

    What is up with all of these reddit references now? Did hackaday just discover reddit, or something?

  16. Erronous Monk says:

    How can this work in motion? A bicycle (motor or not) needs to lean into a corner to remain balanced if this keeps the bike virticle how does it corner.
    Like ABS brake systems this gyro will be best used only while not moving. Turn off to ride?

    Lets see some simple frames and spinning disks before we put on the gell-coat and turn signals.

    :-)

    • Haku says:

      It could be that using an accelerometer/gyroscope sensor setup combined with sensing the steering allows the ‘brains’ of the vehicle to detect the natural forces involved when cornering and so allow the vehicle to tilt by tilting the gyroscopes.
      But any sudden movements (like a crash) and the gyroscopes wouldn’t be allowed to tilt.

      Just a guess.

    • el jonco says:

      Because the giros only have to stabilize at low speed. At high speed, inertia and the wheels take over that function.
      Thus the giros can be spun up by harvesting break energy, store that energy and stabilize the vehicle at the same time during stand still or slow speed and subsequently release the energy to get the vehicle going again while the giros spin down.
      Double Performance, halve consumption!

  17. soopergooman says:

    As it comes to a stop, the wheels should separate into a set of four. there’s your stopping stability issue solved.

  18. fraguk says:

    So what happens when it runs out of power?

    So you’re riding down the road and the batteries run out or you have an accident and lose power, do you then fall over inside your squashed toothpaste tube?

    • asdf says:

      The same thing that happens to a traditional motorcycle that looses power… rider balances motorcycle with steering wheel while pulling off to the side of the road. While decelerating through 5mph to a full stop, they will have to use their foot … as a traditional bike does.

      Projected weight is lighter than my stock Goldwing.

  19. Icy says:

    Looks like a BMW C1 crossed with a Carver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carver_(automobile)) yet not as much fun. At least the carver is seen to be very stable in regular driving on the relevant Top Gear episode.

  20. ChalkBored says:

    Someone was driving their Smart car through the African desert when…

  21. Hirudinea says:

    Is it really that difficult to balance a bike on two wheels?

  22. bob says:

    well i quite

  23. erth64net says:

    This is pretty convincing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXjEt-P9b_0

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