As corporate giants like Ford, G.M. and Waymo struggle to get their self-driving cars on the road, a team of researchers in China is rethinking autonomous transportation using a souped-up bicycle.
This bike can roll over a bump on its own, staying perfectly upright. When the man walking just behind it says “left,” it turns left, angling back in the direction it came.
It also has eyes: It can follow someone jogging several yards ahead, turning each time the person turns. And if it encounters an obstacle, it can swerve to the side, keeping its balance and continuing its pursuit.
It is not the first-ever autonomous bicycle (Cornell University has a project underway) or, probably, the future of transportation, although it could find a niche in a future world swarming with package-delivery vehicles, drones and robots.