Honda MotoGP Bikes Use ASIMO and F1 Technology
An ex-F1 man himself, Honda's Shuhei Nakamoto was quick to retain the services of the Formula 1 development engineer Tetsuhiro Kuwata, the guy who worked on the traction control system for the cars.
Now with only two wheels to control, Kuwata says things are even harder, but one of them remains unchanged: the key element for the brain of the bike is to figure out what the rider intends to do and then adjust the controlled variables accordingly.
The MotoGP bike's brain needs to receive extensive information on a host of variables: speed, throttle position, acceleration, leaning angle, pitch and many more. And as if this was not enough, the way riders shift their position and weight during the race is yet another key element in the equation.
The gyroscopic sensor used by the MotoGP prototypes is derived from the one which helps Honda's ASIMO robot keep balance, walk, jump and even run.
Just like the postural awareness of the ASIMO robot is the primary set of data which is analyzed to control balance, making the electronic "brain" understand what is really happening during a MotoGP race is Kuwata's main goal.
ASIMO's sensor was refined to withstand the extreme G forces on the track and still be capable to provide accurate data on the position of the motorcycle. The current development stage involves reducing the reaction time the bike's electronics need to the riders' requests.
Future track testing aims to close the gap between simply analyzing the machine and understanding the bike-pilot combo as a whole.