Hubble’s Ground Game: Advanced Two-Wheeler Uses Spacecraft Tech to Stay Upright

December 6th, 2012 | by Michael Keller

It doesn’t look much like the Hubble Space Telescope or a luxury yacht from the outside. But at the heart of Lit Motors’ not yet released two-wheel vehicle is a technology rarely seen outside of low Earth orbit or ocean-going vessels.

The company’s high-tech electric C-1 vehicle, which resembles an enclosed motorcycle, is able keep itself upright while standing still or in a collision thanks to advanced gyroscopes typically used in spacecraft and ships.

“Satellites use this technology to maintain position and orientation,” says Daniel Kim, the founder, president and CTO of the San Francisco-based startup. “These gyroscopes point craft like the Hubble in free space where nothing constrains them, and we use it for the same thing.”

At the heart of the device, called a controlled momentum gyroscope, are 40-lb. flywheels that spin at 8,000-12,000 revolutions per minute. When operating at full speed, the gyros will output 1,300 ft.-lbs. of torque, keeping the 800-lb. C-1 upright when stopped and allowing it to lean into and out of curves without driver input.

Read more: Hubble’s Ground Game: Advanced Two-Wheeler Uses Spacecraft Tech to Stay Upright –txchnologist.

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