There are many futuristic motorcycles in movies, including Batman’s Batpod, Light cycles in Tron and the biker gang’s motorcycles in the anime classic, Akira. According to BMW, the future is here, and it’s called the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100: a bike so connected that drivers don’t even need a helmet.

VISION NEXT 100 “has the full range of connected data from its surroundings and a set of intelligent systems working in the background, so it knows exactly what lies ahead,” Holger Hampf, BMW's head of user experience told Bloomberg Pursuits. The smart bike is equipped with a self-balancing system and a digital companion which, according to BMW, “acts imperceptibly in the background and always intervenes when required or desired,” making helmets unnecessary. VISION NEXT 100’s systems are meant to eventually equal the driverless systems in cars, according to Bloomberg Pursuits. 

Even though self-driving cars already exist, they’re still at early stages of development with glitches and problems to fix. In May, a Tesla Motors Inc. sedan that was operating on autopilot drove under an 18-wheeler, resulting in the first known fatality for Tesla in 130 million autopilot miles. In addition to technical problems, there are privacy and security issues raised by connected, smart vehicles.

Industry professionals have previously said that connected cars can “revolutionize mobility,” but there’s a dire need to establish minimum standards to protect the vehicles’ security and the consumers’ privacy. In September, the Department of Transportation' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration addressed some of these concerns by releasing voluntary guidelines to protect consumer privacy and minimize cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.

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