I am always amazed at what humans can do. Things that were only in the pages of science fiction books are now everyday realities….except for flying cars, they never seem to take off….ha ha, sorry it was just too easy!
Driverless cars however are old hat now, ok, not in production yet but it is only a matter of time. Riderless bikes however are a different story, firstly it is a lot more difficult to do and secondly, what is the point?
So imagine a racetrack and in the distance a rider is taking the bends almost perfectly, hitting every apex and as the police in England would say, “making progress”. He comes into view and in fact astride the bike is a humanoid robot, looking like something out of a computer game, ready to get off and reign down fire and destruction on all who oppose him. Ok that last bit is not true, but the bit about the humanoid robotic rider is….really it is!
Should be matt black though
It seems like Yamaha have a lot of money just lying around that they didn’t know what to do with and so they set up a project. The project is to try to create a robot, that can ride a “normal” bike with no adaptations to that bike. Ok not quite a normal bike , it is a Yamaha YZF-R1M, Rossi’s bike. Oh and the sign of success is when the robot can beat Rossi’s lap time around a certain track; easy peasy !
Yamaha set this task to the SRI , the Stanford Research Institute, as it was originally know. It is the company where they developed the Apple assistant Siri and they have delivered, sort of, nearly..
In September, Motobot 2.0 , called that because it was the second one nad scientists might be really clever but they have no imagination, managed to break the 200km/h (124 mph) barrier on the race track. Unfortunately for the team, but great for Valantino as the robot was still 30 seconds a lap slower than him. They have tried again, but still failed and so now they are off to make Motobot 3.0…again showing their lack of imagination. What would be wrong with Roborossi or Destroyer of legends, or Rossi the Robot….ok I will stop now
What no gloves?
The project does have a practical side though, learning how to make the robot ride meant having to learn about how humans ride and how they control things; remember this is a robot on an unmodified bike. The Rossibot had to use the brakes and gears in the same way we would and this has real life applications. A humanoid robot could be made that could operate machinery that already exists; want a driverless car, no need to buy a new one, here is a driver for you, who can also mow your lawn, and walk the dog!
Personally however I like the answer that Hiroshi Saijou of Yamaha gave when asked why they were doing this….
“Why a motorbike? Because it is very difficult to do, and it has never been done before.”
For me that is a good enough reason for most things.