The MIT Autonomous Bicycle can offer an improved user experience by bringing the convenience of mobility-on-demand systems to bicycle-sharing, while solving, at the same time, some of the challenges found in current systems such as the rebalancing problem or the over-quantification of fleets.
The MIT Autonomous Bicycle Project aims to transform bicycle-sharing systems into an on-demand mobility solution, generating a more efficient and sustainable transportation network in cities.
First, users would order a ride, and a bicycle would drive autonomously to wherever they are in tricycle configuration. Then, it transforms into a bike, and it can be ridden just like a regular bike. Once the trip is complete, it would go back to autonomous tricycle mode to pick up its next user or to a charging station.
One of the key aspects in the mechanics of making a bicycle drive autonomously is self-balance. To solve this issue, we have designed an innovative mechanism that provides two different configurations: When in use, the bicycle configuration allows the experience to be the same as riding a regular bike.
Then, for autonomous driving, it transforms into a tricycle that has the necessary stability to drive by itself. This transition is generated by two linear actuators that dynamically separate and rejoin the two rear wheels as needed.The prototype was developed with the intention of integrating the autonomy hardware and software already developed at City Science for the Persuasive Electric Vehicle (PEV).The current prototype is remote-controlled.