Yamaha explores fusing artificial intelligence and motorcycles
A couple of weeks before the opening of the Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha has announced the list of exhibits it will have on display in its booth. A motorcycle application of artificial intelligence known as the Motoroid prototype stands out, next to the autonomous Motobot and an enigmatic electric quadricycle.
The Tokyo Motor Show has traditionally set the home stage for Japanese manufacturers to offer a glimpse at how they conceive the future of mobility. Many prototypes have had their international debuts at this biennial event, and this legacy continues with the 45th edition of Japan's most famous motor show.
Honda has already revealed that it will display its self-riding motorcycle technology, and now Yamaha follows suit with its own Motoroid concept. The whole idea revolves around applying artificial intelligence to a motorcycle, and it seems that at Tokyo we will see a hands-on approach in the shape of a prototype motorcycle – unlike Kawasaki's recent Rideology concept, which was theoretical and displayed only in a video.
For the time being, Yamaha has only revealed that its Motoroid prototype can identify its owner and interact like a living creature. This certainly leaves ample room for speculation, yet the recent road safety initiative undertaken by BMW, Honda and Yamaha steers our imagination in a specific direction. In any case, we'll know more on what Yamaha's prototype can do before the end of the month, as soon as the Tokyo Motor Show gets rolling on October 27.
This is not the first time that Yamaha has occupied itself with the concept of intelligent vehicles, as two years ago it was the Motobot that led its Tokyo booth. The autonomous R1 superbike can lap a race track completely on its own, and for 2017 Yamaha will show us its latest updates.
According to Yamaha, the intermediate target of safely exceeding 200 km/h (124 mph) has been achieved in 2017 as planned, and the Motobot's next step is the 2020 objective of challenging Valentino Rossi in his natural habitat, the race track.
Interestingly, Yamaha has set-up an online vote to gauge opinion on the matter, with results showing that most people believe Rossi cannot ever lose to the Motobot, although the robot does enjoy some loyal following in South America and the Middle East.
Finally, Yamaha will field a new leaning multi-wheel concept vehicle at Tokyo, the electric-powered MWC-4. Yamaha has toyed a lot with the leaning multi-wheeler theme, and during the last decade it has created several prototypes, like the Tesseract, the OR2T, and the MWT-9 concept from the previous Tokyo Motor Show – yet the only production model to come out of this process thus far is the Tricity three-wheeler.
All of the above are powered by conventional petrol engines, but Yamaha has opted for zero-emission tech with the MWC-4. The most intriguing thing about it though is not its power source, but the part where Yamaha cites the application of "attitude-control technology, giving it a ride that feels like nothing else and a level of comfort not found with a conventional motorcycle." Sounds very exciting, whatever that means.