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.


Kawasaki says the AI will allow a motorcycle to converse (対話) with its rider while processing data from the internet (インターネット) and vehicle information (車両情報). The text in the green bubbles pointing to the rider and the bike (知性 ・ 感情) translates to “intelligence – emotion.”

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.

  • Old MOron

    Ha, give my bike the Maniac Joe’s personality.
    And give Bruce’s bike Cal Crutchlow’s brain.

    • Starmag

      1) Your insurance doesn’t cost enough already?

      2) So Bruce’s bike will tell him “I coulda’ been a contenda’ over and over?

      • Old MOron

        I expect Brucey will be tuning in here tomorrow to deliver his Moto GP race preview. Let’s see if i can get a rise out of him.

  • Ian Parkes

    Remember not to ride that bike while you are getting divorced.

  • allworld

    This could bring road rage to a whole new level.

  • Old MOron

    Hey, what happens if you have “artistic” feelings and the bike pics up on it?

    • SerSamsquamsh

      Well done.

  • Thomas Conway

    I just want Kawasaki to come out with an updated Concours. That would be good.

    • SerSamsquamsh

      As long as the new Concors has essential equipment like cruise control, sushi train and USB toaster I guess I could deal with a cloud based backseat rider.

  • not-a-fanboi-honest

    For those that have not heard of Softbank, they have recently acquired ARM, the phone (and other things) chip maker.

    • denchung

      And also part owner of Yahoo Japan.

  • JMDonald

    What’s next an autonomous KZ1000? There is something to be said for ABS, traction control, on the fly engine mapping and electronically adjusted suspension but this idea seems ridiculous to me. Almost anyone can drive a super car today because of modern DCT transmissions. Too much in the way of electronic goodies takes too much away from the experience. I like riding my old roadster. It doesn’t have any electronic aides.

  • Barry_Allen

    And when you try to go over your limits (according to the bike);

  • STAN

    Many this is so Great .Suzuki originated the idea years ago but it didn’t manifest it to fruitionThe Japs are too damn smart not to do this idea justice.Kawasaki got the green light from me on this must have addition.