Yamaha announces partnership with SRI to develop Motobot.
Motobot, Yamaha’s motorcycle riding robot, is entering its next stage of development.
In an announcement made at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Yamaha confirmed it has entered into a partnership with SRI International to further develop the technology.
SRI International is a non-profit, independent research centre and will provide its robotics expertise to help develop Motobot towards its ultimate goal of being able to beat nine times world champion Valentino Rossi’s lap times around a racetrack.
To give Motobot accurate position recognition, it will employ technology including high-precision GPS and sensor fusion, a process where data from several different sensors is “fused” to compute something more than could be determined by any one sensor alone.
Motobot will also be given the ability to learn, enabling it to make its own decisions regarding the ideal line to take around a racetrack.
In this way Motobot can improve its lap times with each successive lap of the track. Initial trials have begun in closed test areas, and these will continue as development progresses.
Yamaha began the project to pioneer a new approach to vehicle development by using a humanoid robot capable of operating the motorcycle at levels higher than those possible with a human and with little or no modifications having to be made to the vehicle.
Yamaha officials said, “The sophisticated technologies acquired in achieving the high objectives are also intended to be applied to advanced technologies and rider support systems in the future, as well as other options that may segue into new business development.”
But the next goal of the team is to have Motobot lapping a race track at speeds of 200km/h by 2017, and then challenging Valentino by the end of that year.