For most people who are not exposed to manufacturing automaton, robots are still science fiction but whether we pay attention or not robots are getting better and smarter. The latest advances in artificial intelligence science provides the required control and autonomous features for the latest inventions.
In some case, robots are being developed for applications that at first glance do not make much sense. For example why would a motorcycle manufacturing company want to develop a robot to ride their bikes?Maybe it is just for publicity to bring attention to the companies engineering prowess. Maybe it is to show their new super fast motorcycles can do when the limits of having a human rider are removed?
I mean it cannot really be only for consumers that want to be passengers on the back of a robot driven super-bike.
The manufacturer is Yamaha Motors based in Japan and as far as I can tell they are the first company that is developing this technology. At the heart of this speedy robot lies very sophisticated artificial intelligence programming connected to the world through an array of sensor technology.
The requirements for this robot driver are far less than that of a autonomous car. It does not have to navigate roads, avoid pedestrians or obey traffic laws. All it really has to do is stay on the track and go as fast as possible. From the design it seems the robot is somewhat limited in how much it can adjust it’s balance. If you watch professional drivers, the are practically off of the bike in the corners with their knees hitting the pavement.
Motobot The Robot Motorcycle Racer.
Yamaha engineers have named the machine Motobot which is better than just calling it the robotic motorcycle driver.
Motobot is able to locate itself to within 2.5 centimeters using a combination of inertial measurement and GPS-RTK ( GPS with real-time kinematics). The smart machine monitors the road conditions and air resistance to adjust the bike’s acceleration, and braking,
The robot managers the bike to be able to make it around the track as fast as possible. I guess it probably cannot pop a wheely since that is a very inefficient maneuver but fun is for humans it seems. At least for now.
As an engineer this is all very fascinating. As a consumer it leaves me a bit baffled as to why Yahama is spending the development money and really it does not make me want to run out and buy a Yamaha motorcycle. However if that robot rider can climb down off his bike and help me with yard work and drive me to the office then count me in.