There are a number of transportation devices under development deserving of the adjective, "revolutionary." There are also no shortage of vehicles bestowed with the "vaporware" descriptor. High on both of those lists rests the C-1 from Lit Motors – a self-balancing fully-enclosed electric motorcycle, with a steering wheel in place of handlebars. For both doubters and believers, however, there is no denying that this project is moving forward.
The latest evidence of this, besides the punctual delivery of its newsletter to email inboxes and increased staffing, is the award of a United States patent for the technology that is the beating, whirling heart of this machine: its gyroscopically-controlled stabilization system. This involves, basically, a pair of high-speed spinners that can change both the speed and direction of their individual rotations in response to what's happening with the vehicle. Whether it's slowing down, turning, being pushed against by the wind, or all of those at once.
This involves a pair of high-speed spinners that change speed and direction in response to what's happening with the vehicle.
Besides performing all that magic, the system is more efficient than other setups. The motors that turn the flywheels in the gyroscope can also act as generators, feeding electricity to capacitors when they're asked to slow down, thereby keeping the drain on energy resources down to a minimum.
Of course, just the granting of a patent doesn't mean a product will successfully make it to market. There are, though, quite a number of people whose pre-orders speak to their confidence that this one will. In fact, three-quarters of the company's planned 2014 production is already spoken for, and that's before an actual road-ready prototype has even been shown. Yes, we have seen an attractive mock-up and a rough cut example shown, but both of those were an obviously long way from the final product.
With time being as short as it is, we won't be surprised, or even disappointed, if a customer doesn't receive one before the end of next year. We can't even express, however, how anxious we are to see the production prototype in all its stabilized glory. You can read the full text of the patent here, or check out the enlightening images from it here.