How AI is Changing the Motorcycle Industry
Everyone is talking AI. But what does that mean for the motorcycle industry? From faster motorcycle design to enhanced dealership marketing strategies, we’ll explore how this burgeoning technology may overtime reshape the motorcycle industry.
First Things First. What is AI?
AI. Artificial intelligence. Generative AI. ChatGPT. We’ve all heard about these, especially over the last 12-24 months. But, do most of us know what they mean? Maybe.
So, let’s get into it. Let’s go over some important definitions.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Oxford Languages defines artificial intelligence as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” Basically, it’s the computer’s ability to do things and make specific decisions based on stored data and without human intervention.
Generative artificial intelligence (generative AI)
Generative AI is a type of AI, which is capable of generating text, images, and other media. It generates content based on existing data that was input by humans to teach it patterns and how to generate new outputs on its own.
Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (ChatGPT)
Chat GPT is a chatbot trained by humans to use AI to generate answers to questions and prompts. It was developed by OpenAI and launched in November, 2022. Anyone can use Chat GPT. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it has some limitations. For example, the data it uses is not always current, as it has not been updated since 2021. So, if you’re looking for assistance on more recent topics, Chat GPT may not be useful to you.
Motorcycle Industry’s Use of AI
At this moment in time, the general consensus is that AI will have the largest impact in the electric motorcycle segment. That is not to say that traditional motorcycle manufacturers don’t or will not continue to use AI. Maybe not as much as their electric motorcycle counterparts. Of course, that may change with time.
Enhance the Engineering Process
Instead of creating one design at a time, engineers can use AI programs, such as Autodesk, to generate numerous designs and explore a plethora of creative possibilities. They input specific parameters and the AI program creates a multitude of design options to consider. Thousands of design options! The engineering team then selects the designs they like and moves on to optimizing those designs, until the final design is chosen.
Using AI to generate thousands of design options allows engineering teams to get the most out of brainstorming and thinking outside the box. It opens up possibilities to consider design aesthetics and features that may not have been explored otherwise. This is especially helpful for smaller or less experienced design teams, but also more seasoned teams who need an infusion of new ideas.
Reduce Costs and Production Times
Using AI in the design process shaves off a significant amount of design time. An AI program can output thousands of designs in minutes. This would take a human hundreds (if not thousands) hours to accomplish without AI assistance.
Traditionally, motorcycle manufacturers can take as long as 18 months to bring a new motorcycle model to life. This will most likely drastically change with mass adoption of AI in the engineering and manufacturing process. The faster the design is generated and finalized, the faster it can go to production. Instead of waiting months (or years) for a new model to come out, motorcycle enthusiasts may be able to get their hands on it within a few weeks.
Improve Efficiency and Safety
Lightning Motorcycles, a California based manufacturer of electric motorcycles, has used generative design to create a lighter swingarm for their LS-218. The new swingarm is both lighter and stronger than a standard swingarm. This is just one example of how manufacturers are using AI to make their motorcycles more efficient.
AI algorithms (coupled with sensors) can be used to detect road hazards and alert the rider. For example, adaptive cruise control uses AI to automatically decrease a motorcycle’s speed in order to avoid a collision. AI-powered suspension systems enhance comfort and handling by adjusting the damping force.
According to an AI researcher Barak Or, Ph.D., AI can analyze “real-time data to dynamically adjust tire pressure, enhancing performance and fuel efficiency.” Tire manufacturers, such as Goodyear, are currently experimenting with this type of tire. While the availability is limited and for cars only, it’s only a matter of time before AI-powered tires are also available for motorcycles.
In 2020, Damon Motors, a Canadian manufacturer, proclaimed that they are using AI to “create the safest electric motorcycle.” With the help of their in-house industry-disrupting software, their goal is to have “no fatal accidents on any of [their] bikes by 2030.” While this is a lofty goal, it may be more achievable than one thinks, with the help of AI.
Hyper Boost Adaptability and Personalization
Imagine your motorcycle knows you, and it knows what you want. For example, it knows what road and route are best suited for you on any given day. It knows that you prefer not to ride on the highway when it’s raining. It also knows that it needs to go at a lower speed when it’s raining. Furthermore, your motorcycle is equipped with a 360° protection system that detects everything happening around you, and alerts you when action is needed.
Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore. This type of personalization and adaptability are possible and currently available (in limited supply). Mentioned earlier, Damon Motors is one of the manufacturers at the forefront of AI advancements in the motorcycle industry. Their award-winning CoPilot™ records data for each rider’s motorcycle and uses that data to take corrective action. With AI, the motorcycle is both a riding and learning machine.
Provide Faster Customer Service and Content Creation
Both motorcycle dealers and manufacturers can use AI to provide exceptional customer service and create unique content for their customer base. For example, motorcycle dealers can use ChatGPT to assist their marketing team with brainstorming and writing unique blog posts. Here at Revtero, we sometimes ask ChatGPT to help us improve blog posts written by our in-house team or brainstorm interesting topics. Motorcycle dealers can do the same. The same goes for brainstorming interesting social media content.
It’s safe to assume that most online shoppers have interacted with some type of an AI-powered virtual assistant (chatbot). Some are good and some are not so helpful. They range in their capabilities. The most well-known virtual assistants are Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant. Most motorcycle dealers have some form of live chat on their website to help shoppers find motorcycles or schedule appointments. The ultimate goal is to allow customers to interact with the dealership 24/7, regardless of whether or not the dealership is open.
Our Take on AI
Our team has been in the motorcycle industry since 2003. We’ve seen it go through a couple of transformations, including the 2008 recession and now the AI revolution. We are bullish on AI and are excited to see the industry embrace it, especially in the electric motorcycle space. (We love the HyperSport and LiveWire models.)
We also believe that we are still in the early stages of the AI revolution. This makes it both existing and scary. It’s exciting because opportunities seem endless. This time can be likened to the many other significant discoveries throughout history. The scary aspect is that a lot of what’s ahead is still unknown. In general, change is scary. But, change is also progress, and progress is good.
We do have concerns about the potential risk of job loss and loss of privacy because of AI. While we are not experts on either topic, we can see how the proliferation of AI can decrease the demand for certain job positions and also compromise individual privacy.
Our hope is that the industry will take a Goldilocks approach to the use of AI. As with most things, everything in moderation and with appropriate limitations.
Looking ahead, AI is here to stay. The AI Genie is out of the bottle, and we can’t put it back in. We have to embrace it and use it to make our industry better, bigger and bolder.