At the Tokyo Motor Show today, Yamaha dropped a bombshell on both the bike world and humanity in general with Motobot: the motorcycle-riding robot that’s not as fast as a human being yet.
Yet. One day it aims to be. In a video message, the autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot has a message for ace rider Valentino Rossi in a somewhat creepy child-like voice:
I am improving my skills every day but I am not sure I could even beat the five-year-old you. Perhaps if I learn everything about you, I will be able to catch up...
I am not human, but there has to be something only I am capable of.
I am MOTOBOT. I was created to surpass you.
If you haven’t started running to your off-the-grid shack in the West Virginia hills yet, the one with enough cans of beans to get you through 2026 and that homemade EMP cannon that needs a little more work, you’ll realize that this creation is actually quite amazing.
Yamaha has released few details on this experimental unit, seen here astride a 1000cc R1M superbike. They say the goal is to build a robot that can ride an unmodified motorcycle on track with no assistance, and that “the task of controlling the complex motions of a motorcycle at high speeds requires a variety of control systems that must function with a high degree of accuracy. We want to apply the fundamental technology and know-how gained in the process of this challenge to the creation of advanced rider safety and rider-support systems and put them to use in our current businesses, as well as using them to pioneer new lines of business.”
It’s a fascinating experiment, like Honda’s Asimo robot, except on a bike. Hey, I wonder how they’d do against each other in a race?
If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my bunker.
Contact the author at email@example.com.