It’s not just laptops, smartphones, and big-screen TVs anymore—as personal and automotive technology has exploded, so has the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The CES show is as mainstream as it gets these days, with frenzied parties and new tech reveals aplenty (and yes, nerds) that have the potential to impact every part of our lives, including transportation – even the two-wheel kind. The 2019 edition of the show featured quite a few motorcycle-focused products that look pretty compelling, even if they’re not in the production pipeline just yet. As you’d expect, it was the heavy hitters—BMW, Ducati, and Harley—showing some of what they have planned for the future.

riderless motorcycle
We’re not sure how these would work in a pizza delivery scenario, but it’s wild to watch a riderless motorcycle on the move. Check out the video.BMW Motorrad

BMW Riderless Concept

Autonomous vehicles are on the march, so if ya can't beat 'em why not join 'em? That seems to be Bavaria's thinking, as BMW Motorrad presented its self-riding BMW R1200GS at the 2019 CES.

BMW Riderless Concept
This GS is stuffed to the gills with sensors, cameras, and comm systems, all interconnected to sense impending obstacles—like gravity.BMW Motorrad

The ”research and test vehicle” was first unveiled late last year by BMW, ostensibly “to showcase its high level of expertise in automated driving,” and it wowed the tech crowds with its ability to start, accelerate, corner, slow down, and stop—all by itself. BMW says the test vehicle development will provide valuable insights into riding dynamics, which can be used to help the rider recognize dangerous situations and master difficult maneuvers to improve their skills. Munich is betting that the rapid pace of digitization will have a big impact on motorcycling, so it’s taking two-wheeler needs into consideration for tomorrow’s world and working on other V2V communication systems to enhance safety as well. As for the riderless GS? BMW says it has no plans to produce this thing, but we’ve heard that before. Check out the surreal video here:

Shoei Smart Helmet IT HT

We’ve also heard that Shoei Helmet and auto electronics manufacturer NS West introduced a new smart helmet (dubbed the IT-HT) at the Consumer Electronics Show, which includes a built-in head-up display.

That's good news, since most of the innovation in that space over the last few years has been driven by tech, communications, and electronics outfits (Skully, Nuviz, Sena, etc,) but really nothing from established helmet makers. So even if this is just a concept, it's reassuring to see the guys who actually know how to make lids have a smart one coming soon—or at least are thinking about it.

Ducati’s Safety Road Map
Ducati’s Safety Road Map 2025 strategy hopes to link vehicles, pedestrians, and street infrastructure.Ducati

Ducati Connected Vehicles

Ducati also presented vehicle-to-vehicle safety-focused concepts by partnering with Audi and Ford in the first US demonstration of a communication system that interlinks vehicles, street infrastructure, and pedestrians.

The test follows one completed last summer which saw the ConVeX (Connected Vehicle to Everything) project—part of Ducati’s Safety Road Map 2025 strategy for new safety systems—showcased in Europe for the first time. The first stages of the strategy will have ABS Cornering extended to the entire Ducati range and then the launch of a model with front and rear radar in 2020.

C-V2X tech
At the CES, Ducati (along with Ford and Audi) demonstrated C-V2X tech on a Multistrada, which allows vehicles to recognize each other at intersections.Ducati

At CES 2019, Ducati rolled out a Multistrada 1260 which, along with Audi and Ford vehicles, was equipped with C-V2X technology to demonstrate how C-V2X can be used to negotiate the right-of-way in a four-way, non-signal intersection. The companies also exhibited Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), and Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) safety scenarios. The V2V case featured the Intersection Movement Assist (IMA) scenario, which addresses angle collisions at intersections, while the V2P scenario exhibited how C-V2X can be used to protect road users like pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Imagine a person suddenly steps into the street from out of view and your vehicle stops because it was alerted by that person’s smartphone. This is just one example of how C-V2X can connect smart vehicles to a smart world,” said Don Butler, executive director at Ford Connected Vehicle Platform and Product.

Harley-Davidson Livewire
LiveWire: Zero–60 in 3.5 seconds, 110-mile range, $30K price tag.Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Sure, $30K for a motorcycle with a range of 110 miles is a bit of a stretch—but the fact that a major motorcycle manufacturer is in the full electrification game is definitely a step in the right direction. Zero has been doing this for years, but with the H-D LiveWire, the mainstream community is sure to sit up and take notice. Attractive bits? There's 0-to-60 mph acceleration in under 3.5 seconds. One hundred percent torque all the time. No clutch and no gear shifting. H-D Connect, for the first North American mass-market cellular-connected electric bike. Also, a standard cornering-enhanced antilock braking system and Traction Control, which also utilize cutting-edge inertial measurement units and ABS sensor technology—no small things. The boos? One-hundred and 10 miles of range on a single charge. Oh, yeah, and the price. Patience, grasshopper.