Skip to main content

Yamaha's motorcycle-riding robot calls out Valentini Rossi to a challenge on the racetrack

2015 new #Yamaha #MotoBot Concept Ver#1 'To The Doctor' 親愛なるロッシへ promo video #TMS15 #44thTMS
Motorcycle racers beware – Yamaha has created a new humanoid robot designed to imitate the very human action of riding a motorcycle. The Motobot, as it’s called, even has to twist the throttle to accelerate, and although it isn’t ready to enter races against humans yet, Yamaha hopes that the robot will eventually blast past 120 miles per hour on a racetrack. For now, however, Motobot is still running on training wheels to maintain balance and avoid toppling on corners.

Don’t give up on your racing dreams quite yet though — at the moment, Motobot is intended as more of a safety bot than a race contender. Because the robot is designed to mimic all the physical and biological processes of a human rider on a standard racing bike, Yamaha hopes that Motobot will help track safety protocols and support systems, supposedly as they issue new bike releases and power-heavy features.

Motobot features six actuators that allow it to control the bike in a way very similar to how a human rider would. It’s required to autonomously control steering and throttling, the front and rear brakes, the clutch, and the gearshift pedal. In addition to its humanoid exterior, Motobot runs on an internal data analysis system that processes information from sensors on the robot and in the motorcycle. Feeding on that data, Motobot can steer in proportion with speed, engine function, and changing conditions of the track ahead.

Yamaha’s long term plans for Motobot suggest that future versions will be equipped with machine learning capabilities. With an artificially intelligent system, Motobot will be able to complete more complicated racetracks and will be able to improve its performance as an actual contender beyond the novelty of a motorycle-riding robot. The machine learning edge will allow Motobot to make autonomous decisions based on other riders and track conditions, in combination with motorcycle performance data in real time.

Even though Yamaha is focusing on the safety features and the spectacle for now, it’s not being shy about Motobot’s racing aspirations. The company has called out racing legend Valentino Rossi in its promotions, and hopes to prove Motobot’s skills in a head-to-head race.

Editors' Recommendations

Chloe Olewitz
Chloe is a writer from New York with a passion for technology, travel, and playing devil's advocate. You can find out more…
Digital Trends’ Top Tech of CES 2023 Awards
Best of CES 2023 Awards Our Top Tech from the Show Feature

Let there be no doubt: CES isn’t just alive in 2023; it’s thriving. Take one glance at the taxi gridlock outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and it’s evident that two quiet COVID years didn’t kill the world’s desire for an overcrowded in-person tech extravaganza -- they just built up a ravenous demand.

From VR to AI, eVTOLs and QD-OLED, the acronyms were flying and fresh technologies populated every corner of the show floor, and even the parking lot. So naturally, we poked, prodded, and tried on everything we could. They weren’t all revolutionary. But they didn’t have to be. We’ve watched enough waves of “game-changing” technologies that never quite arrive to know that sometimes it’s the little tweaks that really count.

Read more
Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards
Digital Trends CES 2023 Tech For Change Award Winners Feature

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most:

Samsung's Relumino Mode
Across the globe, roughly 300 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, and generally speaking, most TVs don’t take that into account. So in an effort to make television more accessible and enjoyable for those millions of people suffering from impaired vision, Samsung is adding a new picture mode to many of its new TVs.
[CES 2023] Relumino Mode: Innovation for every need | Samsung
Relumino Mode, as it’s called, works by adding a bunch of different visual filters to the picture simultaneously. Outlines of people and objects on screen are highlighted, the contrast and brightness of the overall picture are cranked up, and extra sharpness is applied to everything. The resulting video would likely look strange to people with normal vision, but for folks with low vision, it should look clearer and closer to "normal" than it otherwise would.
Excitingly, since Relumino Mode is ultimately just a clever software trick, this technology could theoretically be pushed out via a software update and installed on millions of existing Samsung TVs -- not just new and recently purchased ones.

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more