There’s often an April Fools’ Day vibe to stories about riderless bikes. Google’s self-driving bicycle was one such story, but a team of students at Tsinghua University has done it for real. Here at road.cc we are, generally speaking, very much pro cyclist – that’s kind of the point of the website – but this is nevertheless quite an impressive feat.
The team has fitted an electric bicycle with steering and speed control. While a riderless bike will steer and right itself given enough momentum, this only succeeds in keeping it upright. It takes a lot more to achieve the same thing while also directing it where you want it to go.
In the video (from 2015), we see the lonely steed circling a track, bumping over small obstacles and riding on (not especially) rough terrain.
Quite why Tsinghua University is working on this project is beyond us. They don’t appear to have a shortage of cyclists in the area. The university recommends using a bicycle for on-campus transportation, and adds: “The morning bicycle jam on the roads to the classrooms has always been a sight to behold.”