Yamaha self-driving motorcycle, MotobotEnlarge Photo
Yamaha plans to pit man against machine with its latest self-riding motorcycle concept. And it has an appropriate name: Motobot. The Japanese motorcycle company announced last Tuesday that it will bring its Motobot concept to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it will detail the technology that will eventually challenge championship rider Valentino Rossi.
The company plans to first teach Motobot to safely operate the motorcycle at speeds above 120 mph. Then, Motobot will challenge Rossi in a lap-time battle. The machine operates like any other rider without any major modifications to the motorcycle. Rossi will be a tough rival. The Italian native has secured multiple MotoGP championship titles—seven, to be exact—and has nearly 200 podium appearances under his belt.
Yamaha will also show a handful of other concepts alongside Motobot. Joining the robotic motorcycle will be MotoRoiD, a self-driving motorcycle for humans. The company said the concept senses the rider's biometrics and movements to interact with him or her in all new ways. The bike is capable of driving itself at low speeds.
Additionally, the company will show a multi-passenger, four-wheel last-mile self-driving mobility vehicle; an industrial drone; and an industrial-unmanned helicopter. While the last two are self explanatory, the last-mile vehicle is meant to get you from your door to your car, public transportation, or other type of transportation service.
It's unclear when Motobot will be ready to challenge Rossi, but Yamaha believes the knowledge it continues to gather may one day help pioneer all-new business opportunities. Look for Yamaha's host of concepts to debut on January 9.