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Yamaha MOTOBOT Motorbike-Riding Robot Heads for the Race Track

Introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show at the end of 2015, Yamaha MOTOBOT quickly became a sensation because it could ride an unmodified motorcycle, but things are speeding up now. Yamaha and their MOTOBOT project partners SRI International say that the robot is ready to start riding on an actual circuit.
Yamaha MOTOBOT 1 photo
The initial goal of MOTOBOT was to show the world that a humanoid robot that can use an unmodified motorcycle was not SciFi territory. Truth be told, it looked almost scary seeing the Yamaha MOTOBOT strolling around on an R1M and making things look "unnaturally natural."

Yamaha stated right from the start that this was only the beginning, and they (including SRI) are aiming way higher. The main goals were to start understanding rider ergonomics and dynamics from a robot's point of view and replicate the human actions.

This included weight shifting, moves, the way the bike reacts in certain scenarios and being able to program adequate responses from MOTOBOT. Basically, by doing so, Yamaha MOTOBOT became one of the most precise and comprehensive instruments for acquiring data regarding rider dynamics... and itself.Yamaha MOTOBOT is way ahead Honda's ASIMO
Needless to say, even if MOTOBOT can't climb stairs or dance, it has the upper edge on Honda's ASIMO. If the difference is still not that clear for all, we'll just add once more the obvious. Comparing ASIMO to MOTOBOT is pretty much like comparing a 2-year-old dancing around the safety of the backyard on a thick lawn to a teenager racing in the lower-tier motorcycle championships.

Yamaha says that MOTOBOT will make its way to the race track, as the ultimate goal is to have it doing 200 km/h (124 mph) on a circuit. While this is not a competition, Yamaha says that their "deadline" is 2017. Iwata is taking MOTOBOT to the CES and showing what it can do to the world.

We don't want to make Honda's efforts in robotics look insignificant, but man, a robot riding a superbike on the track is not something you see every day.


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