Most of us will admit to talking to our motorcycles at some point (in my case, usually something along the lines of, “Why won’t you start?!!”). Now, Energica is working on technology that will allow voice control of some of your motorcycle’s functions, so you might have to be careful what you say.
Energica is not a huge name in North America, but it’s a major player in the electric motorcycle scene in Europe. The Italian-based manufacturer builds all the race machines for MotoGP’s MotoE series. Energica’s machines have excellent battery range, and lots of power, although they tend to be on the heavy side. That’s the unfortunate reality of battery bikes these days—the batteries themselves push the weight past a modern superbike, no matter how advanced the rest of the machine is.
The latest project that Energica is sharing with the world is a new voice control system, that lets riders interface with their motorcycle through an audio link. Presumably, this system would be used for engaging or disengaging options like cruise control, traction control, and other onboard electronic systems. Throttle and brake control would remain in standard configuration.
Energica is working on the project with Cellularline (a mobile device accessories developer) and Alascom (a telecomms company). The idea is that the riders would use some sort of helmet-mounted communicator to interface with their phone and their motorcycle, similar to current infotainment systems that allow for voice control of music or navigation. Along with the rider-motorcycle interface, there would also be some built-in communication with iOS’s Siri and Android’s Google Assistant systems, which would come in handy for navigation purposes.
It’s surprising it’s taken this long for a company to announce voice control of onboard electronics, as it’s far easier than navigating menus and sub-menus by hand, especially while riding. The Euro manufacturers have improved their electro-interfaces in recent years, but a voice control system would be much easier to use … if it actually works. What if your phone battery dies, etc., etc.?
Although, depending how you look at it, this tech could already be outdated. Don’t forget that Honda’s working on patents to mentally control your bike, and Kawasaki is developing an AI that adjusts the motorcycle’s settings to suit your emotions. Maybe, in the future, talking to your motorcycle will seem old-fashioned, in an age of mind-controlled machines.