Pasadena Motorcycle Designer Says 'No' To Self Driving Motorcycles

Published : Saturday, January 6, 2018 | 6:59 PM

Miguel Angel Galluzzi, via YouTube

The ArtCenter College of Design graduate who heads the Piaggio Group’s Advanced Design Center in Pasadena does not see much of a future for self-driving motorcycles – instead, he fancies seeing solar-powered two-wheel vehicles in the future that will make owners independent of fossil fuels.

Miguel Angel Galluzzi, an Argentine native who finished his Transportation Design course at Art Center in 1986, has been focused on the bigger issue of “restoring the motorcycle’s standing in the popular imagination – the ultimate symbol of unfettered subversive fun, aided by its more contemporary virtues as a sustainable, cost-effective and future-facing vehicle.”

Galluzzi designed the Ducati Monster in 1993, the original “naked bike” which became a landmark of minimalist automotive design and defined the performance-based aesthetic of bike design for the decades that followed.

Today, the Monster’s elemental simplicity has made it a favorite platform for custom motorcycle builders. Since its inception, about 300,000 Ducati Monsters of numerous variations have been produced out of Galluzzi’s original concept.

In a recent PC Mag interview, Galluzzi said he is definitely not in favor of motorcycles becoming self-driving machines.

“Let me explain: just like our brains, we have two different parts, the rational and the inspirational,” he told PC Mag. “Motorcycles are romantic, it’s a passion. Kids who are buying motorcycles today, especially vintage bikes, are doing it to get closer to something we’ve lost. Just like the resurgence in vinyl; (it’s) a romanticism for analog.”

Galuzzi recalls that while growing up in Buenos Aires, he would take a 45-minute bus ride just to buy a U.S. motorcycle magazine, which was always about three to six months late. That was the way he fed his passion for motorcycles, he said.

He received his first motorbike at his eighth birthday, according to his Art Center profile. “Once he overcame some initial disappointment…Galluzzi saddled up, hit the road and never looked back.”

Asked what his vision is for the future of mobility, Galluzzi said, “We are just at the beginning of an alternative energy time for two-wheel vehicles—nothing is left behind. In my house, here in California, I have solar panels, and my electricity meter whirrs backward all day. My vision for the future is when I can store that power and use it to run light, compact, two-wheel vehicles… ride to work, if I need to, then plug it in and get home easily.”

Galluzzi spent 17 years with Ducati before moving to the Piaggio Group and Pasadena from Italy. Aside from the Ducati Monster, he has also led design for the Aprilia RSV4, the Cagiva Raptor, and the re-imagined Moto Guzzi California 1400.

He works out of the Piaggio Advanced Design Center Corporation’s office at 35 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. The Piaggio Advanced Design Center is dedicated to developing the next wave of two and three-wheeled vehicles equipped to respond to rapidly-changing, disparate and diverse transportation needs worldwide.

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