Kawasaki announced it is working on an artificial intelligence system that would allow a motorcycle to communicate with, and adapt to its rider. The AI would be able to converse with a rider and, using cloud computing and a motorcycle’s electronics, adapt the bike’s settings to the rider’s needs and skills.
The AI wouldn’t just allow a motorcycle to talk to a rider; Kawasaki says the AI will use a technology called an “Emotion Engine” to interpret a rider’s emotions and perhaps even develop its own personality. Cue the “Knight Rider” theme now.
While this may sound like science fiction, the Emotion Engine is already being used in the real world. The Emotion Engine was developed by a company called Cocoro SB, a subsidiary of Softbank, a telecommunications company and the third largest public company in Japan. Softbank and French company Aldebaran Robotics to create a product called Pepper, billed as the first robot capable of reading emotions. Pepper is already being sold to businesses in Japan and Europe for use in retail environments, and will be available in North America later this year.
The technology is still fairly rudimentary, as you can see from the video below. Softbank is actively inviting third party developers to work with its AI and expand its potential and Kawasaki is certainly interested in tinkering with it.
Kawasaki isn’t the only company dabbling with AI. Last month, Honda announced plans to adapt Softbank’s Emotion Engine for vehicles though it’s unclear if that also includes motorcycles. Meanwhile, Yamaha is taking a completely different tract with its motorcycle-riding robot, Motobot.