Carving the 270 degree ramp between two major highways, the rider thinks, “time to open her up”, wrist about to twitch to full throttle for the long straight ahead. But the rider pauses, remembering the numerous times they’ve seen a police vehicle under the next overpass, just waiting for their next victim. But, instead of backing off completely, the rider issues a voice command, and a real-time image of the road a kilometer ahead appears in their head-up display. No police, it’s go time. The autonomous drone providing the image to the rider continues flying ahead, subsequently alerting the rider to an accident in the right lane just a few moments later. The rider backs off, again issuing voice commands to alert emergency services.
Is this a possible scenario that Honda has in mind with one of their latest patents? The drawings show a four-rotor drone mounted to the tail section of an electric, sporty motorcycle. According to CycleWorld.com, Honda’s patent is quite vague on details, with no single, distinct use for the drone emphasized, and appears to be more a catch-all for ideas for a distant future product, not something close to production.
Beyond relaying images to the rider of the road around and ahead of the rider, the patent also suggests the drone can increase the communications range of remote services to the motorcycle, or be utilized to deliver fresh battery packs for the bike’s electric powerplant. When docked, the drone would recharge its own batteries, and possibly even use its rotors to provide cooling airflow for the motorcycle.
The patent also shows the drone being able to extend and retract the rotors to make for a smaller footprint while docked, an important detail when you consider the size of drone that might be required to be able to deliver batteries of any useful size.
With drone technology quickly advancing, and costs coming down, even a scaled down version of the Honda motorcycle drone could provide useful information to the rider, assuming regulations and technology are in place to ensure mass drone pile-ups are not commonplace in highly populated areas.