No one can accuse Yamaha of dreaming small with its Motobot project on display at the Tokyo Motor Show. The work's incredibly lofty goal is to build an autonomous, motorcycle-riding robot capable of beating MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi around a track. Highly skilled human riders already have a serious challenge against Rossi during races, so there's definitely a lot work ahead for this machine.

To the project's credit, the Motobot is apparently already capable of piloting an R1M sport bike, but the choice of making it look like a person sitting on the cycle is still somewhat creepy. The Terminator-like visual even veers towards threatening with lines in the promo video above like: "I'm not human, but there has to be something only I am capable of."

While beating Rossi might never happen, Yamaha's more realistic goal with this endeavor is to develop the next-generation of rider safety tech, according to Gizmag. After all, once the bike can get around a track autonomously, imagine how much assistance it could offer a normal owner. In fact, Google might be toying with a similar idea, too.
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MOTOBOT Ver.1 (Technology exhibit)

This is an autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot built around a fusion of Yamaha's motorcycle and robotics technology. R&D is currently underway with the goal of developing the robot to ride an unmodified motorcycle on a racetrack at more than 200 km/h. 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. 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.


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