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Valentino Rossi meets self-riding bike

Valentino Rossi has met Yamaha’s self-riding Motobot in this official video from the Japanese manufacturer who plans to have an automated self-riding motorcycle available within a decade.

In the video, Valentino watches the Motobot cut some laps and then goes out and shows the robot how t’s done, providing the Yamaha engineers with vital data.

It is planned that Rossi will actually race the robot in 2017 and the Yamaha engineers believe they will be able to beat his lap times on several race tracks around the world.

Yamaha Motorboat, a robot that rides a motorcycle plans Valentino
Yamaha Motobot, a robot that rides a motorcycle

Motobot is a robot that rides a specially equipped R1 motorcycle with outrigger wheels so it can stop and not fall over.

The project is being developed with SRI International, one of the world’s leading R&D centres.

Most car companies are already testing self-drive cars and believe they will have them available for the market in the next few years.

However, Yamaha chief executive Hiroyuki Yanagi says it would take at least a decade before autonomous technology was available on a commercial basis for motorcycles.

“Our current target is how to assist the rider,” he said. “The rider can focus more on safety if the machine handling becomes autonomous and artificial intelligence can be used for course selection.”

Yamaha Robot plans valentino
Motobot in action

Yamaha has invested of up to US$20m in a Californian company working on autonomous vehicles, robotics and drones and in February, invested US$2m in a US start-up called Veniam for its connected vehicle know-how.

Technological rider intervention is already available with ABS brakes, dynamic suspension adjustment, traction control and emergency braking assistance.

So far, only ABS is being considered mandatory in some countries, but it is only a matter of time before these hi-tech rider intervention systems become compulsory.

One day, autonomous riding may also be mandatory.

Meet Rossi in Misano

Valentino Rossi and Ducati get video gamesMeanwhile, Rossi fans can meet their hero on a Yamaha VIP trip to the Misano Grand Prix in September.

The eight-day tour (September 6-13) visits Rossi’s hometown of Tavullia and his VR46 training ranch as well as excursions to the Lamborghini and Ferrari museums.

Of course, there is also three days of VIP hospitality at the Misano Grand Prix.

It’s not cheap, though, at $6299 per person (twin share) or $6899 per person if you want a separate room.

Download booking forms here.

  1. Motorboat?? I guess that mistake was caused by autocorrect, which demonstrates that computers can’t always comprehend what is required of them.

    I am really interested to see if they can make Motobot beat Rossi around a racetrack. If it does that won’t mean that Motobot can out-perform a rider in the real world. A race track only has a dozen or so corners so it isn’t too hard to program a computer for that. In MotoGP they already use different traction control settings for every corner. With Rossi being a contracted Yamaha rider maybe he will be instructed to let the Motobot win, or at least slow down enough to make it look good.

    If vehicles become fully automated I guess we will be able to send the car out to get a pizza while we stay home and watch the footy. Sounds like a good thing.

  2. I had a depressing thought: what would Moto GP be like in 10 years time? Robots riding electric bikes, perhaps with race mods to make them sound like the Jetson’s car. Youngsters out there probably won’t know the futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons”. This is what the car sounded like, .
    Racing won’t be the same, and when us old fartz tell disinterested youth about the good old days when men were men and bikes didn’t have ABS, traction control or stability control, they won’t believe you. Nup, they won’t believe.
    Who will take the trophy on the podium in 2026? Not a sweaty rider, but perhaps a sweaty, stressed Chief Programmer, thanking he/she/its Software Engineer and team of specialst programming pit crew.
    After the race, you won’t go to the maker’s 3D Virtual Reality dealership to buy a race-replica bike, you’ll be looking to buy a race-rep laptop.

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