Yamaha robot rides high-speed racing motorcycle
Yamaha Motors has revealed it is developing a robot designed to ride any racing motorbike at high speeds.
The Japanese company unveiled a prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show.
At present it is reliant on human operators, but in time the firm plans to have the android make its own decisions about the best course and speed to achieve the best race time around a track.
Called the Motobot, this is a fully capable motorcycle-riding humanoid robot that unites both Yamaha's motorcycle and robotics technologies. The Motobot is able to ride entirely on its own with no human participation. So far, Yamaha has not disclosed much about the robotic system, except of a few words in a short press release.
“R&D [Research and Development] is currently underway with the goal of developing the robot to ride an unmodified motorcycle on a racetrack at more than 200 km/h,” the Yamaha statement says.
What is also known so far is that the Motobot interacts with the bike in exactly the same way that a human does, twisting its wrists to control the throttle, squeezing the clutch, changing gear and hunkering down behind the windscreen.
The only limit to its capability is that it so far needs a pair of stabilising wheels on both sides of the motorcycle to prevent the bike from tipping. It is hoped that they won’t be necessary in the future.
The Motobot has been developed to serve as an unmanned test pilot to ensure a human rider’s safety. Instead of using human riders to test unknown and potentially dangerous prototypes, Yamaha can make use of the Motobot to ride hundreds or even thousands of test laps before humans get involved.