Is it a bicycle? Is it a motorbike? No, it is a bicycle that rides itself. This auto-balancing bicycle built by a team of students at Tsinghua University (China) is actually an electric bicycle extended with steering control and clever electronics that allows it to go forward at different speeds, and turn left and right. Because of the control system a cyclist is no longer needed to ride the bicycle, freeing him/her for doing other things like admiring his bicycle riding around all by itself. You just can’t stop progress.

Of course it is easy enough to make fun of such a project, but it is an exploit all the same. A riding bicycle is a complex nonlinear system, with many uncertainties due to unknown bike specifications and ever changing environmental parameters. A robust and stable control system is needed to keep the bike up and moving. This one was built with LabVIEW running on a National Instruments Compact RIO and some other stuff. They even managed to stick an Arduino Mega in.

The question that remains is: is a self-riding bicycle a bicycle or a motorbike? Or is it a motor bicycle?

Here is a video showing the bike riding around autonomously.