Motorcycles

Yamaha shows Motobot motorcycle-riding humanoid robot

Yamaha shows Motobot motorcycl...
Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
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Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
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Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
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Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
Anthony Levandowski's Ghostrider Robot Team, which used the base of a Yamaha single-cylinder dirt bike to create the first autonomous motorcycle.
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Anthony Levandowski's Ghostrider Robot Team, which used the base of a Yamaha single-cylinder dirt bike to create the first autonomous motorcycle.
Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
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Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
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Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
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Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
Yamaha's Motobot on display at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's Motobot on display at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's Motobot on display at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's Motobot on display at the Tokyo Motor Show

Yamaha produced somewhat of a surprise at the Tokyo Motor Show today when it showed a motorcycle-riding robot. Unlike most two-wheeled debutants, Yamaha's new Motobot isn't starting out on a small capacity motorcycle, but release images show the humanoid robot riding Yamaha's most sporting motorcycle, the 1000cc R1M.

The motorcycle-riding humanoid robot combines Yamaha’s motorcycle and robotics technology in an R&D effort aimed at developing a robotic rider which can ride an unmodified motorcycle competently on a racetrack.

Little information has been released about Motobot. The brief press statement states that the "task of controlling the complex motions of a motorcycle at high speeds requires a variety of control systems that must function with a high degree of accuracy" ... so we don't expect any startling results any time soon.

Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot

The aim of the exercise is to develop rider-support systems similar to those we are seeing developed in automobiles to make driving safer. "We want to apply the fundamental technology and know-how gained in the process of this challenge to the creation of advanced rider safety and rider-support systems and put them to use in our current businesses, as well as using them to pioneer new lines of business," says Yamaha's release.

Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot
Yamaha's humanoid motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot

It's no secret that DARPA catalyzed the massive leap forward in autonomous vehicles over the last decade when it held its inaugural DARPA Grand Challenge in 2004, but one of the less publicised entrants in that momentous race was Anthony Levandowski's Ghostrider Robot Team, which used the base of a Yamaha single-cylinder dirt bike to create the first autonomous motorcycle.

Anthony Levandowski's Ghostrider Robot Team, which used the base of a Yamaha single-cylinder dirt bike to create the first autonomous motorcycle.
Anthony Levandowski's Ghostrider Robot Team, which used the base of a Yamaha single-cylinder dirt bike to create the first autonomous motorcycle.

The Ghostrider didn't make the cut for the final event, but then again only a handful of those cars that did qualify got out of the car park, but the event was the crucial factor which has resulted in autonomous vehicles being developed so quickly in the subsequent 11 years.

Check out Motobot in action:

30-sec TECH: biker robot rides the Yamaha R1M

10 comments
DemonDuck
Hummmm... maybe Motobot could learn to ride in the self driving cars. Sort of closing a loop...
xs400
One small(?) step for Yamaha, one giant leap for motorcycle safety...
mrhuckfin
Other then the fact that they can do it, what exactly is the point of this?
pickypilot
I fail to see the point. If they're developing "rider-support systems", just ditch the robot and make the bike semi autonomous. That's easily done using gyros for stabilization and servos for controls. I just drove, or rather rode, in my Tesla for 900 miles for the most part, hands free. ...And it was me sitting in the driver's seat, not a fake humanoid.
the webman
Too bad he can't drag his knee; it isn't articulated.
CarlosVer
It can kick sideways ??? Bhahaha...
owlbeyou
"motorcycle-riding humanoid robot" That's a misnomer. This bot is actually part of the moto here. Now make it so that it gets on the bike and rides off; then I will be impressed. Giving it a robot shape is just for flash, and making a self-riding motorcycle is redundant since there are no passengers who will benefit from the exercise... Unless it's an autonomous riding motorcycle messenger/delivery service :)
FrankOstanek
It would be very cool to see a race with nothing but robots.
Grunchy
Presumably this is for the Pike's Peak race challenge. The robot has no fear of death and has reflexes far in excess of Human reaction time, it should easily beat any record. Especially since the robot could be minimized down to a few servos and a lightweight computer. The motorcycle itself may as well not even be shaped to fit a person. If you ever saw the Real Steel movie, it's easy to imagine a future with Robot competitors that we can cheer for. As for motorcycle development, what I'm interested in is an internal, horizontal-axis flywheel for self-balancing purposes. Sometimes traffic just crawls, and it's hard enough to manage the clutch and brake but also try to balance at less-than-walking-pace. If I could simply switch on a flywheel that balances for me, that would be so awesome. Even if it's an extra 10 or 20kg of mass, to me that's worth it.
Mirmillion
Before they can talk about V. Rossi's records they should think about how to achieve weight shifting and two-wheel drifting. I'm sure its possible but, until then, all we have here is a gyro-based processor with the ability to crank the throttle and switch gears.