The Tokyo Moto Show has just gotten away, and amongst fuel-efficient hybrids and the latest advancements in autonomous vehicles, you'll find an unorthodox reveal from Yamaha: a robotic biker called the Motobot that can handle some of the fastest motorcycles on earth.
Or maybe Yamaha is actually developing the future of highway patrol, given the Motobot bears a striking resemblance to last year's rebooted RoboCop. The humanoid could very well be designed to chase down speeders, or quickly put an end to high-speed pursuits without putting the lives of human law enforcement in danger.
For the time being, though, Yamaha's goals for the Motobot sound a little less lofty than designing a future crime fighter. Instead, the company's robotics division hopes to further develop the robot so that it can eventually handle an unmodified motorcycle (no added safety gear) to speeds of more than 200km per hour.
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.
The research also begs the question as to whether or not auto or motorcycle racing will be as exciting to watch when there are robots at the wheel. Or, is our fascination with racing tied directly to the risk involved with actual humans in the vehicles?