This humanoid robot can drive a high-performance motorcycle
Riding a high-performance motorcycle is no joke… these bikes can easily crest 200 miles per hour and should only be driven by experienced riders.
That being said – would you trust a robot to drive such a motorcycle?
The Japanese motorsport company Yamaha certainly does. Recently, the company has been making strides on what they call MOTOBOT – a humanoid robot that can autonomously ride around a race track on a high-performance motorcycle.
MOTOBOT is different from most autonomous driving technology, as Yamaha did not aim to make an autonomous motorcycle. Rather, they focused on building an autonomous humanoid that can operate an unmodified motorcycle.
MOTOBOT replicates how a human rider would operate a motorcycle and controls six actuators (steering, throttle, front brake, rear brake, clutch and gearshift pedal) in response to data that pinpoints vehicle speed, engine rpm, machine attitude, etc. to autonomously operate the bike.
Moving forward, Yamaha wants to utilized machine position recognition technology such as high-precision GPS combined with machine learning to enable MOTOBOT to autonomously calculate its own decisions to optimize its performance.
When MOTOBOT is successfully equipped with machine learning, it will be able to optimize its lap time by learning from its successes and mistakes.
In a recent experiment, Yamaha put MOTOBOT up against champion motorcycle rider Valentino Rossi in a race to see who could achieve a better lap time. Unfortunately for MOTOBOT, Rossi easily beat its lap time; however, in the future when the technology is further optimized, it is very possible that MOTOBOT will leave the champion in the dust.
In addition, in the future, Yamaha wishes to transfer the MOTOBOT technology to a variety of other high-performance vehicles including snowmobiles and jet skis.