Meet Motobot, Yamaha's Motorcycle-Riding Robot + Video

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Yamaha introduced its new autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot at the Tokyo Motor Show. No, Yamaha didn’t sign Dani Pedrosa, though as the video below claims, the robot was designed to “surpass” Valentino Rossi. No, that isn’t creepy at all, is it?

Named Motobot Ver. 1, the robot is the joining of Yamaha’s motorcycle and robot divisions. Still early in development (hence the “Ver. 1”), the end goal is for Motobot to be able to ride a regular, unmodified motorcycle on a racetrack at speeds higher than 200 kph (124 mph).

The key challenge for Yamaha’s engineers (besides putting in fail safes to protected Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics) is program Motobot to control a motorcycle with a high degree of accuracy. As it is built to ride an unmodified motorcycle, Motobot will need to have full control over the throttle, brake lever and pedal, clutch and transmission, not to mention steering (Motobot’s “legs” appear to be firmly fixed in position, so don’t expect to see it lean into corners like Rossi in this interation).

What’s the point of Yamaha’s Motobot program? Yamaha says it’s trying to apply the research to develop advanced rider safety and rider-support systems, “as well as using them to pioneer new lines of business.” Anyone looking forward to watching RoboGP races?

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

More by Dennis Chung

Join the conversation