Since Kawasaki revealed it is developing a form of artificial intelligence it plans to implement into its motorcycles, we’ve been monitoring rider’s responses to the system.
Not surprisingly the announcement has been met with mixed reactions around the world, and it has polarised the riding community.
From what we can understand, Kawasaki is developing a “natural language dialogue system” that would enable the rider to communicate with the bike and change various settings within it by voice command.
The system apparently will also be able to talk back to the rider and to learn about their riding style and skill level, and then adapt the bike to suit.
Kawasaki says the AI will use a technology called an “Emotion Engine” to interpret a rider’s emotions and perhaps even develop its own personality.
The “Emotion Engine” is already being used in the real world.
Developed by a subsidiary of telecommunications company Softbank, the system has been implemented into a robot called Pepper, the first robot capable of reading emotions.
Many of the concerns around the Kawasaki proposal relate to whether data from the bike will be transferred over the internet and where that data will end up.
That data could include speed and location of the bike, and how it is being ridden. Could it detect that the front wheel is off the ground?
Other concerns are that the bike could be making decisions and changing settings that the rider doesn’t actually want to be changed.
Comments like “No, thanks. I’ll do it the old-fashioned way”, “Just stop it already. I don’t WANT automation in my motorcycle” and “Two words for motorcycle manufacturers on the subject: PLEASE DON’T!” are common.
Some people have embraced the concept - “Technology marches on. I’m thankful for that and the options available”.