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Someone built a self-balancing bike that has to be seen to be believed

If you struggle with balancing, there may be a future where your bike does it for you.

autonomous bicycle riding itself
Image: Zhihui Jun / YouTube

An engineer from Beijing who’s built up 800,000 fans with his vlogging has created a self-riding bicycle. The proof-of-concept vehicle took him four months of mostly weekend work to create, and it has to be seen in action.

A large flywheel helps keep the bike balanced, while a complicated series of sensors and AI routines not only keep the bike on its wheels but can also navigate around obstacles, thanks to an RGBD depth camera and LiDAR to map out its surroundings. Yes, this bike has more sensors than the newest Teslas.

You can see it in action in the video below. A large lithium battery provides up to three hours of both balance and speed, in the partly 3D-printed set of accessories that bolt on to a normal bike frame.

It’s spooky to watch, as anyone who knows how to ride a bike knows the constant number of tiny course corrections that we need to do to keep two wheels in balance. The smooth movement of the autonomous bike without a rider on it feels impossible, even if we know it’s carefully applied physics.

While this is definitely still in the prototype stages, one day maybe systems like this can take out the pain of learning to ride a bike. I remember all the skinned knees and palms when I was learning, all those years ago, and my toddler is just about at the same age. It would be cool if they didn’t have to go through the same pain while learning.

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