Chinese university students have developed an auto-balancing bicycle which can ride around all by itself and could one day follow its owners around without any human supervision.
While the sight of a riderless bicycle may spook some, or remind others of ‘ghosties’ performed throughout their youth, it may also help prevent rampant bike theft in cities like Beijing.
“Our project is mainly about how a bicycle can keep its balance like a human,” one of the Tsinghua University researchers, Minnuo Zhao, explained. “We chose the most similar method to a man-made use of centrifugal force produced by controlling the handlebar to keep its balance.”
“We hope the bicycle can carry water and equipment for fashion, and follow young people when they are exercising outdoors,” Zhao added.
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The team also plans to add a GPS system to the bicycles, which would allow them to traverse a preplanned route without any human intervention. However, this may scupper China’s booming bike rental industry, which has already witnessed a government-imposed moratorium due to its massive popularity across several major cities. Beijing alone boasts 2.4 million rental bikes.
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