Motorcycles

Kawasaki's vision for emotionally responsive, artificially intelligent motorcycles leaves us cringing

Kawasaki's vision for emotiona...
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant appears incredibly verbose and inefficient
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant appears incredibly verbose and inefficient
View 7 Images
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant is designed to take photos of your ride
1/7
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant is designed to take photos of your ride
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant
2/7
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant: updates your suspension settings without being asked to
3/7
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant: updates your suspension settings without being asked to
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant: appears to know a car is about to pop out in front of you at last 6 or 7 seconds before it happens
4/7
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant: appears to know a car is about to pop out in front of you at last 6 or 7 seconds before it happens
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant appears incredibly verbose and inefficient
5/7
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant appears incredibly verbose and inefficient
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant: forward  real-time weather predictions could be handy
6/7
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant: forward  real-time weather predictions could be handy
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant would link in with the timing of traffic light cycles
7/7
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant would link in with the timing of traffic light cycles

Kawasaki has released some details on its future plans to enhance your motorcycling experience with a voice-interactive, personality-based AI assistant. And it looks absolutely terrible.

According to a press release, Kawasaki is "moving forward with plans to develop next-generation motorcycles that have a personality and that can grow along with the rider."

Using technology under development by robotics teams at cocoro SB corp called the "Emotion Generation Engine and Natural Language Dialogue System," future Kawasaki bikes would be able to converse with the rider, change settings, recognize the rider's emotions and build a personality that fits with the rider's idiosyncrasies.

Which sounds … kind of interesting. But they back it up with a concept video that makes the entire concept seem completely absurd.

Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant would link in with the timing of traffic light cycles
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant would link in with the timing of traffic light cycles

Talking to your bike about suspension settings is one thing. But telling it "I don't like city traffic" and then being told you can catch the next green light if you go a bit slower is a bit of a stretch.

Then there's the warning that a car might be pulling out in front of you soon, which says "watch out, a car is coming from your right on the next blind cross-section." Somehow the system knows about this dopey driver so far in advance that it can tell you in a very leisurely and verbose style.

Next up, you're barreling into a corner up in the mountains, and a punchable little voice pops up to say "there's a sharp right curve, so apply some brake pressure before the turn."

Later, the rider tells the bike how much fun he had on his ride, and the bike sends him the route on his phone, plus some photos it took to remember the day by. Sorry, what? And to end off on the most cringeworthy note ever, there's this, which we won't dignify with any further comment:

Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant

The whole thing is a love letter to inefficient communication, a symphony of redundant technologies nobody asked for and that require massive public data infrastructure to be invented and built before they'll work.

The only half-decent ideas in the whole thing are the forward weather alerts and the possibility of popping up a warning when you're steaming into a corner too fast. But there's two big problems with those as well. Firstly, they could easily be done using existing technology through a mobile phone and Bluetooth headset.

Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant: forward  real-time weather predictions could be handy
Kawasaki's proposed motorcycle AI voice assistant: forward  real-time weather predictions could be handy

And secondly, working out what speed is appropriate for a given corner requires the sum total of a rider's motorcycling experience. What's the road surface like? Is there a driveway that might see gravel dragged onto the road in the middle of it? Is it mossy? How long since it last rained? Has there been regular diesel spills on all the last ten left handers? What condition are your tires in?

Not to mention, how good a rider are you? Safe entry speeds between beginners and novices can be massively different, even on the same corner.

Kawasaki is a big company that makes some unbelievable motorcycles. But I think we'd all be better off if they'd left this video on the cutting room floor. And the concept itself … until I see some much more practical examples, I'm gonna pass. Get your cringing face ready and enjoy the video below:

Kawasaki Artificial Intelligence Project - Rideology

Source: Kawasaki

8 comments
ikarus342000
Strange that you comment in this negative way on the experiment, but for cars you never did. By the way, that bike riders have do be more adaptive to traffick is clear. To alert you that there somewhere is coming a car from the right is a normal traffic occurence and only distracting. Same for cars, some show on the display traffic signals, which are before your eyes anyway. What is the point, it only distracting. It would be nice, when you whould be in the future, also as critical when it comes to cars.
erwin111
I like the idea as a starting point for exploring motorcycle development. The electronic emotional therapist idea does not excite me, but I do like the notion of the bike being more in-tune with the rider's physiological state and the rider potentially being able to learn from it in a bio-feedback sort of way. Also, having a rally style pace-note A.I. assist could be something worth playing with.
Buellrider
Just let the traffic light know that a motorcycle is waiting for the light to change. Most intersections do not detect that a bike is even there. I would not want to be looking down at messages warning me about something that might or might not occur. That would just add stress to riding and riding is supposed to be fun and constantly being warned about things is not something that sounds like fun. Somehow or other bikers survive without all this added complexity. Inexperienced bikers need experience and drunk bikers need to ride umimpaired. Will this system warn of the drunk driver, I'd bet not.
TedClough
Not cool. I would never buy a bike like this. It has already been categorically proven that voice conversations and especially visual/text distractions degrade driving ability and actually CAUSE accidents. So you want more? Really? Plus, it appears that this technology is dependent on all other vehicles being part of the same "network" (invisible car coming from right?) Maybe in 20 years...And only when they outlaw all older vehicles without the capabilities - yea, I know it's coming, but at least I got to drive when it was fun....grumpy old man....
Augure
The main thing cringy about this video is how ugly, unprofessional and uninspired it looks. They have millions of budget and they advertise their brand image for the future with this?
Wolf0579
I'd shoot my bike if it took that smarmy tone with me.
Timelord
It might be a bit less annoying if they ditched the current voice and got William Daniels to do it instead. And don't forget to have a sweeping LED array under the windscreen.
Jay_Wilson
"Your son texted me to tell you that, actually, he IS busy next week but if you turn off that tedious Emotion Generation Engine and Natural Language Dialogue System then, yeah, maybe..."