Yamaha Built a Motorcycle-Riding Robot to Rival a Champ

Let these figures soak in for a moment. 86 race victories, 175 podium positions, 73 fastest laps, and seven world championships. That's an impressive record to say the least, and in fact, it's the score card of one Valentino Rossi, arguably the biggest name and top dog in MotoGP motorcycle racing.  But as in any profession, someone new is always gunning for the top spot, and according to Yamaha...that someone is actually a "something." The bike company has built a motorcycle-riding robot, nicknamed “Motobot,” with ambitions of being the best in the world, and that means beating the Italian superstar. Yamaha’s Motobot Ver.1 goes on display at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show (along with the company's striking Sports Ride concept car), and the following video provides a deeper and slightly eerie look at this robot’s racing aspirations. Take a peek. RELATED: Watch Moto3 Racer Niklas Ajo Make the Save of the Year
In the video, engineers with the Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory put the motorcycle-riding humanoid through its paces on a desolate industrial complex, and it isn’t like they gave the Motobot an easy starter bike for practice. The robot straddles a modified 2016 R1M superbike, which boasts a 998cc four-cylinder good for 200 horsepower, and a pair of training wheels for safety’s sake. RELATED: See more images of the Yamaha Sports Ride Concept Car The company hopes to eventually develop the robot to ride an unmodified bike around a racetrack, achieving speeds in excess of 124 miles per hour. Understandably, controlling the intricate and knife-edged motions of a bike at blistering speeds requires a high degree of accuracy, which will take time to hone. Today training wheels...tomorrow Valentino Rossi. Dramatic robots-challenging-racers storyline aside, Yamaha’s end goal is to use the technology and know-how gained from this project to develop better rider safety systems for its future production vehicles. And that is something all riders can be grateful for. RELATED: A Bathtub With a Yamaha Engine Makes for an Amazing Go-Kart