A robot is riding the Superbike

The Yamaha Motobot. Japen is on the leading edge in robotics. Credit: Yamaha

When reading this news I couldn't help remembering how difficult it was for me when I was a four year old to learn riding a bike. And that made all more interesting discovering that Yamaha has developed a Motobot that is able to drive a motorbike, a superbike actually!

As any robot at the wheel, a self driving car, this Motorobo has to understand the surrounding to avoid clashing onto obstacles and stay on the road. I assume that it may not be as sophisticated as a self driving car since it is a technology demo that has been showcased at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show driving on road closed to traffic but it had to have the basic skill of riding a bike.

The Motorobo used a plain Yamaha, with no modification except, as shown in the video clip, two training wheels to avoid topping over when it stops, since it hasn't the ability of "lowering" its legs to keep the equilibrium. Also it requires assistance in the starting for the same reason.

Clearly a prototype, intended more to entertain and awe Motor Show goers, but still demonstrating the advances made by robotics.

Keeping the equilibrium is not a first, the Segway does that and very well. However, designing a robot to ride a superbike at 200km/h seems pretty impressive to me.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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