Back in 2015, Yamaha Motors set out with an ambitious objective: to create a robot that is capable of beating around the race track one of the greatest motorcycle riders of all time, Valentino Rossi.
Along the way, the Japanese manufacturer would learn a limitless amount of information about how motorcycle racers achieve the lap times that do, and Yamaha would then be able to quantify one of the great mysteries in how to make a motorcycle go faster.
With the Motobot project born to achieve all these goals, Yamaha now two years later has pit its creation against their factory-back MotoGP racer, and the results are very interesting.
Humans certainly won’t have to fear their robot overlords on this day, as Valentino Rossi was able to comfortably beat Motobot around Thunderhill Raceway’s 2-mile West Course, by over a 30-second margin.
On its face, this may not seem like a great outing for the Motobot team, and while the plucky blue robot has a bit of work to do on its lap time, the progress that Yamaha and SRI have achieved with Motobot is truly astounding.
It is no longer a matter of “if” but instead a matter of “when” Motobot will replicate human speed on the race track, and truly give Valentino Rossi a run for his money while racing a motorcycle.
As such, today was an intriguing look into the future.