Reports coming in from the Tokyo Motor Show 2015 indicated that one of the scene-stealers at this year’s event has been a motorcycle-riding robot from Yamaha fittingly called Motobot.
A promotional video was also published showing the robot-cycle in action (“I am Yamaha Motobot,” the machine in the video said with a boy-like robot voice.) This is the Yamaha Motobot Concept Ver#1. On Wednesday, Patrick George wrote in Lanesplitter-Jalopnik: “At the Tokyo Motor Show today, Yamaha dropped a bombshell on both the bike world and humanity in general with Motobot: the motorcycle-riding robot that’s not as fast as a human being yet. Yet. One day it aims to be.”
Various descriptions can be summed up as Yamaha’s autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot. Yamaha’s team have in turn created a fusion of Yamaha’s motorcycle and robotics technologies.
Those involved in its research and development team are on a mission to develop a robot that can ride an unmodified motorcycle on a racetrack at more than 200 km/h. Those catching the robot debut saw it on Yamaha’s YZF-R1M machine, said autoevolution.
At the top of their agenda at Yamaha has been the call to deliver control systems for it which can function with a high degree of accuracy. “As it is built to ride an unmodified motorcycle, Motobot will need to have full control over the throttle, brake lever and pedal, clutch and transmission, not to mention steering (Motobot’s “legs” appear to be firmly fixed in position,)” said Dennis Chung in Motorcycle.com.
Jamie Wisniewski, associate editor of ECN, also explained the significance of focusing on accurate control systems. “Controlling complex motions at high speeds requires a variety of control systems that must function with a high degree of accuracy. Meaning, one wrong move and this robot’s a goner.”
While the robot concept is being explored, there is an underlying question begging to be discussed: Why explore this in the first place? A number of bloggers when first hearing about a robot riding a motorcycle in the works said they were puzzled. It’s easy to understand potential interest in self-driving cars; self-driving buses; self-driving tourism trolleys; but what is the point of a self-driving bike?
“Could throngs of these RoboCop-like machines patrol the interstates of the future? That seems a long way off,” said Jay Bennett in Popular Mechanics.
Yamaha said they want to apply the fundamental technology and knowhow gained in the process of this challenge toward creating advanced rider safety and rider-support systems and to put them to use in their current businesses, as well as using them to pioneer new lines of business.