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.