Valentino Rossi Meets the Yamaha Motobot

05/23/2016 @ 2:01 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS


When Valentino Rossi was in the US for the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, a little bird told us he would be stopping by Yamaha’s San Francisco offices, where the Yamaha Motobot autonomous riding robot project is coming to life.

It looks like our sources were right, as Yamaha has released a video showing Rossi “meeting” Motobot, at what looks like Thunderhill Raceway, just north of San Francisco.

The video is interesting, because it shows the rapid progress that Yamaha, and its partner SRI International, are making with automated two-wheeled systems.

Whereas before we saw Motobot cruising around in a straight line near Alameda, California – now we see the robot rider directing its Yamaha YZF-R1 around corners and hills.

The team’s goal is to have Motobot mimic the actions of a motorcycle racer, dragging knee and everything. There is certainly a bit of ground still to cover before Motobot can “race” Valentino Rossi, as the promotion has been suggesting, but that day will surely come.

For those interested in why the Yamaha Motobot program is so important to the Japanese manufacuter, and what it really means for motorcyclists, we suggest that you read our previous story on the subject. There is quite a lot at stake here.

Source: Yamaha

  • coreyvwc

    But Yamaha already has a motorcycle robot, it’s name is Jorge… ;)

  • Gregs

    Not for much longer.

  • coreyvwc

    Jorge V.2

  • MrDefo

    Really wish they had provided English subtitles for that one.

    I am impressed that they have gotten it to take corners, at least somewhat. I imagine the finished product will be something small, like a Raspberry Pi integrated into the machine.

    What if it was like a video game, and you could take it to a track and it would show you the ideal line for that track? Show the meatbag rider just how far you can lean your bike, all without an instructor. That might be something.

  • thumper702

    The lead picture appears to show Rossi trying to voice-program the robot–“…and when things don’t go your way, just blame your teammate or the Honda rider.”

  • Claude Schmidt

    Gotta love the opening shot, The Doctor consulting his patient!

  • Jimbo

    It would be amazing if they re-named MOTOBOT “JORGE V.2” hahaha

  • tony

    might be lawyers at stake. so let’s just call him george…

  • Tau Editing

    As an older rider dealing with arthritis, the thing that really excites me about Motobot is the design of the deployable outriggers (see 1 minute, 30 seconds into the video). The younger knee-scrappers among you out there may in the distant future reap the benefits of a deployable outrigger. Big kudos to Yamaha! I know that Chopper Design makes the ‘LegUp’ system that adds two, computer controlled, retractable wheels to each side of Harleys. Maybe Yamaha can develop this idea and make it more available to riders with trouble with their OEM outriggers (legs). It would be great if they could develop a generic kit, which can be fitted to other bikes (like my 1985 K100RT), even if only on one side. Please Yamaha, consider this as an offshoot of the Motobot project. There are many disabled riders out there who want to stay on two wheels.