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The Future Autonomous World of Motorcycles

Autonomous vehicles have been attracting more attention lately than it had ever been in the last few years. Today, car manufacturers seem to be racing one another to see who is first to market using autonomous technology. From Google to General Motors, both automobile and technology firms are getting into the mix. But what about motorcycles? At first, the idea of an autonomous motorcycle might seem silly. A car is often recognized as a practical way to get from one point to another.

Motorcycles are supposed to be more about the thrill of the ride. However, the landscape is changing, and future motorcycles must keep pace. It is therefore little surprise that many bold companies are investing heavily in an autonomous motorcycle for the future.

What Makes an Autonomous Motorcycle?

For most autonomous car designers, self-driving vehicles have many recognizable features. For example, the Light Detection and Range (LIDAR) technology, often situated on autonomous vehicle rooftops, is relatively standard. However, LIDAR costs nearly $75,000, which makes it impractical for motorcycles at this point. Likewise, unlike self-driving cars, an autonomous motorcycle cannot let you kick back and enjoy a movie. For these reasons, autonomous motorcycles encompass a different range of features when compared to their car counterparts. However, they are just as intriguing nonetheless.

Autonomous Motorcycle 3D with labels of key features, honda automatic motorcycle
Key features of autonomous motorcycles include futuristic tools to ensure the safety of drivers.

Some of the most notable features autonomous motorcycles now boast a variety of futuristic tools to make them safer and more comfortable. Data analytics, sensor fusion, applied artificial intelligence, and machine learning are all used to enhance autonomous motorcycle capabilities. For example, some motorcycles now feature self-balancing technologies. Others detect rider motion, facial features, and speech. Moreover, some autonomous motorcycles integrate with smartphone technologies, which may be critical in developing safer infrastructure networks.

Autonomous motorcycles are not quite ready for public streets yet. However, the same technologies pushing autonomous cars forward are also creating a brave new future for autonomous motorcycles as well.

Bold Companies Leading the Way

From motorcycle robots to helmetless motorcycles, several innovative companies are designing autonomous motorcycle features. See below a list of the businesses making the biggest waves in this intriguing technology and transportation sector.

Kawasaki

Kawasaki is investing in autonomous motorcycle technologies although there is no date yet for the release of a prototype. The company’s Kanjo engine, which means “emotion” in English, is designed to interact with the rider during the ride. In addition to voice-controlled commands, the system also engages its rider in “chat” through speech recognition. Likewise, the system is designed to monitor rider status during the ride for enhanced safety. With over 5,000 fatalities in the U.S. each year from motorcycle accidents, safety is a major focus of many companies.

Honda Automatic Motorcycle

Honda is making great progress in autonomous motorcycle technology with the introduction of its Riding Assist e-motorcycle. The most notable feature is the motorcycle’s ability to self-balance itself at low speeds and while at a standstill. Rather than using gyroscopes, this autonomous motorcycle adjusts fork angles and the wheelbase to preserve balance. In addition, the Riding Assist technology enables the motorcycle to autonomously move toward a rider and park itself. Such features provide greater safety as well as convenience for motorcycle riders.

BMW

As part of the company’s 100th anniversary, BMW introduced its Vision Next 100. Included in this vision was its C1 self-riding motorcycle equipped with autonomous software, GPS sensors, and self-balancing technologies. This autonomous motorcycle comes with transparent futuristic glasses that provide road safety information. Likewise, it can communicate with wearable technologies that interact with the motorcycle. BMW also has an autonomous scooter called Concept Link that also offers various system integrations. And the best thing about BMW’s autonomous motorcycle is it has zero emissions.

Yamaha

Yamaha has pursued a few different strategies in autonomous motorcycle technology. Motoroid is the company’s premier project. It combines applied AI with autonomous motorcycle features. Among these features include facial recognition, rider movement detection, and autonomous parking abilities. It even has the ability to stand up from its kickstand and move toward its rider. Yamaha has also developed a Motobot, a robot motorcycle rider capable of competing with world-class motorcyclists. During a one-on-one competition with Italian legend Valentino Rossi, the Motobot reached speeds of 62 mph along course curves.

Opening Doors for New Innovations

Though autonomous motorcycles may not be around the next corner, these autonomous technologies are making impacts. Advances in autonomous technologies are used to enhance rider safety through self-driving assistance. At the same time, safety is being improved by making motorcycles more recognizable to other vehicles. Through robotics, companies are finding new opportunities to improve traction, stability, and balance as well. Even helmet manufacturers are incorporating augmented realities, wearable technologies, and data analytics into their products. Overall, the advances in autonomous motorcycle technology are impressive and certainly the way of the future. Also, instead of detracting from the thrill of the ride, these technologies will likely broaden the motorcycle experience even more.

McDonald’s Business Strategy is Rewriting its History

The Golden Arches is undergoing a major transformation. Since the appointment of CEO Steve Easterbrook in 2015, McDonald’s has been implementing changes to its business and operations. Easterbrook initiated a Turnaround Plan that has streamlined its management layers, refranchised hundreds of stores, and redirected the brand towards modern innovations. In a world where IoT and automation are ubiquitous, McDonald’s business strategy has kept them up with new technological disruptions.

In 2017, McDonald’s announced a strategy called the Velocity Growth Plan, whose implemented changes have been very visible to the general public.

History and Future of McDonald's

Velocity Growth Plan and Its Bold Societal Impact

McDonald’s is growing fast, and its Velocity Growth Plan is an aggressive one. Its goal: to create value for stakeholders by serving more customers more often. It aims to retain customers by fortifying strengths, with focuses on breakfast and family occasions. It also plans to regain lost customers by improving food taste and quality, and offering more convenience and value. McDonald’s also wants to convert customers from consumers of burgers and fries to those who buy coffee and snacks.

McDonald's Chairman Enrique Hernandez Jr driving societal impact and McDonalds marketing strategy
McDonald’s Chairman Enrique Hernandez, Jr.

The company identified accelerators for growth. The first was to go digital in its interaction with customers, whether they dine in, eat out, or through delivery. Aside from strengthening its delivery aspect, McDonald’s also focused on elevating customer experience through technology and in-store hospitality. Now, select franchisees utilize self-service digital kiosks and provide table service.

“Today we’re also operating in an environment requiring companies to do much more than run a good business. Customers and other stakeholders expect great products and service but they are also looking for more. They expect modern businesses to step up as leaders driving positive change in their industry and society as a whole. We at McDonald’s accept this and we embrace it. We recognize that the world is grappling with complex environmental and societal changes and that this company McDonald’s is in an unmatched position to make a difference,” according to McDonald’s Chairman Enrique Hernandez, Jr. earnings call.

McDonald’s Business Strategy: Digital Innovation

McDonald’s ambition is to be a modern, progressive burger company. This puts the customer experience in the same level of importance as the quality of the food. And to be a modern innovator in the restaurant industry, McDonald’s has started implementing modern electronic features. One of these is the digital kiosk.

With the kiosk, the ordering process shifts from the cashier to the customer. In-store customers place their orders on a giant touchscreen menu, the same way they would when ordering online through the app. The digital kiosk allows customers to view the whole menu and customize their orders, and pay via credit card. Customers paying cash can proceed to the cashier. Customers then receive a claim card, sit down, and wait for the food to be delivered to their table.

McDonalds business strategy and McDonalds digital transformation through the Velocity Growth Plan
McDonald’s Velocity Growth Plan

This is a departure from the traditional ordering method, which relied on the cashier to process orders and payments. McDonald’s believes this shift to automation personalizes and elevates the ordering experience of customers.

Through McDelivery with UberEats, the company now offers a new level of convenience. Customers can order through the UberEats app, track the delivery, and even pay with their Uber accounts.

McDonald’s is also innovating through its own mobile delivery app, which will have geo-fencing capabilities. This lets customers order through the app, and when they drive to the store for pick-up, the store is notified, ensuring the order is as fresh as possible. Customers no longer need to wait in line at the store or in the drive-through to get their milkshakes.

The McDonald’s Application Network

Steve Easterbrook, CEO McDonalds on Digital Transformation
President and CEO, Steve Easterbrook

These innovations usually take years to deliver, especially when rolled out across several geographies, but McDonald’s is building an application network that uses the Anypoint Platform. This application network connects e-commerce systems and other back-end databases, creating reusable APIs (application program interface) for customers, locations, orders, offers, and nutrition. Disparate systems can be integrated to create customer-facing applications for web, mobile, social, and restaurant kiosks.

President and CEO, Steve Easterbrook, explains during the earnings call that “Technology offers powerful new opportunities that connect with our customers and as we did with the other accelerators we’ll continue moving fast and make great progress. Expectations of companies like us continue to grow. We provide a great experience for our customers and serve delicious food. But that’s not enough.”

An Upgraded Digital Transformation

McDonald’s has successfully launched these new disruptions to streamline the menu and the ordering process and has introduced effective initiatives that have changed customers’ perception of the brand and value. Customers see that an elevated customer journey makes their food taste better. McDonald’s will roll out the new digital customer experience to all of its 14,000 stores in the US by the end of 2018.

The business strategy is paying off. Its mobile app is second in Food & Drink at the time of this writing, with an average of 4.5 stars from over 144,000 ratings in the US.

It is a game-changer in the fast-food industry, offering a different level of convenience to its millions of customers in the US, and worldwide. As McDonald’s rewrites its history, it is setting an example that other fast-food chains will eventually follow.

Sources:

https://blogs.mulesoft.com/biz/industries/mcdonalds-digital-innovation/

https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/mcdonalds-new-kiosks-will-change-fast-food-industry-forever.html

https://diginomica.com/2018/05/01/mcdonalds-digital-delivery-long-game-not-fast-food-fix/

https://www.ciodive.com/news/mcdonalds-cloud-ETL-talend-digital-transformation/523132/

McDonald’s Business Strategy Covers Modern Digital Innovation Cartoon

cartoon of Ronald McDonald and various McDonald's meals coming out of a giant smartphone's screen (depicting the company's new business strategy) while a family of four looks in excitement at him
McDonald’s business strategy is helping the company keep up with today’s digital disruptions. So, how is its digital transformation affecting its customers?

McDonalds History and Future Infographic