Wendy ‘Amelia’ Poole made history last Sunday by becoming the first woman in Europe (and maybe the world) to take a ride on an autonomous motorcycle.

Wendy rode on a self driving BMW C1 motobike that had been modified by UK Research & Development company AutoRD Limited on a test day in Devon. She was part of a focus group of 11 individuals both with and without motorcycling experience who were invited to come and explore their attitudes and reactions to being driven around on a motorcycle that was driven by a computer. 

The BMW C1 was chosen as a test bike as it is incredibly stable at even very low speeds, it is eary to sit in, and it has a canopy to protect against bad weather. These ingredients offer a lot of potential for taxi bikes in crowed cities. It was fitted with a compact two wheel stand that automatically operates when it is at a standstill in order to prevent the bike falling over. It was programmed to take its passenger on a course which involved hairpins and figure of eight turns and allowed the bike to accelerate to up to 30 miles per hour before slowing down to below walking pace, this simulating the typical pattern of a short taxi journey through town.    

Wendy’s reactions to the ride was, ‘Amazing’. A highly positive reaction shared by all the other testers. A common comment was ‘I want one!’

Two teenagers, five women and four men each took part in the six minute test ride at Smeathorpe Stadium in Devon on Sunday 30 April 2018.

AutoRD Limited was pleased by the testing group's responses to the successful test day and full details will be published in due course.

The company received funding under the government's Innovate UK grant funding scheme and this prototype bike was built under a combined grant application between AutoRD Limited, University College London and Empire Racing cars. As a receipient of grant funding AutoRD was ineligible to claim the small company R & D tax credits scheme scheme (i.e. not enhanced deduction or by payable credit) however it could claim a refund under the RDEC scheme.

Useful R & D links and resources

R & D Relief (freeview and subscriber guides)
Find out all about Research & Development and Patent Box tax reliefs

R & D Zone (premium content)
R & D Zone is a unique Research and Development tax resource which is available as VIP (Very Important Practitioner, as a stand-alone purchase) or an an add-on service to your existing www.rossmartin.co.uk subscription. 

Making history

Wendy 'Amelia' Poole seconds into her historic ride on a driverless motorcyle. She is holding on to static handlebars, one of which contains a kill switch in the case of emergency. The bike's actual handlebars are forward and above her hands

Wendy 'Amelia' Poole

How was it?


Notes: the BMW under took very tight turns and it was fitted with outrigger bars in case of system failure (these would touch down prevent the bike from falling flat on its side if power was lost and the stand failed).