‘Created to surpass you’: Humanoid bike-riding robot unveiled (VIDEO)
A robot that can autonomously ride the fastest motorcycles in the world has been unveiled by Yamaha at the Tokyo Motor Show. The company expects its creation to one day be able to ride bikes at a speed of more than 200 km/h.
Called the Motobot, this is a fully capable motorcycle-riding humanoid robot that unites both Yamaha's motorcycle and robotics technologies. The Motobot is able to ride entirely on its own with no human participation. So far, Yamaha has not disclosed much about the robotic system, except of a few words in a short press release.
“R&D [Research and Development] 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 Yamaha statement says.
What is also known so far is that the Motobot interacts with the bike in exactly the same way that a human does, twisting its wrists to control the throttle, squeezing the clutch, changing gear and hunkering down behind the windscreen.
The only limit to its capability is that it so far needs a pair of stabilising wheels on both sides of the motorcycle to prevent the bike from tipping. It is hoped that they won’t be necessary in the future.
The Motobot has been developed to serve as an unmanned test pilot to ensure a human rider’s safety. Instead of using human riders to test unknown and potentially dangerous prototypes, Yamaha can make use of the Motobot to ride hundreds or even thousands of test laps before humans get involved.
A video clip featuring the robot’s capabilities has been released. In it the robot-like voice of a child is speaking the part of the humanoid biker.
"I am improving my skills every day, but I am not sure I can even beat the five-year-old you,” the voice says. “Perhaps if I learn everything about you, I will be able to catch up... I was created to surpass you," it warns.