A few months ago, we told you that Kawasaki was working on an artificial intelligence system for motorcycles, and while the term “artificial intelligence” is thrown around too liberally, the proposal from Team Green was an interesting one for the Japanese manufacturer.
Details were light at the time, but now Kawasaki has released a demo video showing how it sees its “A.I.” system working with motorcyclists.
The demo isn’t too compelling, with many of the features being just an implementation of vehicle-to-vehcile systems with a voice-command veneer tacked on top of it, but it does show that Kawasaki is feigning interest into what the future will hold for motorcyclists.
The question will be though, when true artificial intelligence hits the mainstream, will our robot overlords be more like JARVIS or HAL 9000?
Motorcyclists often romanticize about their bikes, talking about a motorcycle’s personality, or lack thereof. This is total bullshit by the way, but there is something to be said about the connection between man and machine, as it is the same emotional bond that makes one a devout believer of one brand, and detractor to another. Usually we make these connections through something visceral, like the sound of an engine, the power going down the road, or the handling of the chassis. Rarely does one speak about a motorcycle’s personality in the same breath as its electronics, but that might change. This is because Kawasaki is working on an artificial intelligence (AI) project that will see its motorcycles grow and evolve personalities to compliment its owners.
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.
Showing off the Yamaha Motobot at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Yamaha has made public a very ambitious schedule for Motobot, for the coming years. The most daunting task from Yamaha? To have Motobot making laps on a race track by 2017, at over 200 km/h (125 mph). Yamaha calls this Phase 2 of the Yamaha Motobot development plan, and says that the “the sophisticated technologies acquired in achieving the high objectives detailed here are also intended to be applied to advanced technologies and rider support systems in the future, as well as other options that may segue into new business development.”
Let’s face it, we knew this day would come. Technology has finally progressed to the point where our beloved past time of riding motorcycles can now be done by a robot. Sarah Connor was right. Skynet is coming. I, for one, welcome our robot overlords. As tinfoil hat as we can make this story, let’s be honest…it’s pretty cool that Yamaha is developing a humanoid robot that can ride a motorcycle. It’s sorta creepy, but it’s also really cool. That’s fun and all, and it certainly grabs headlines, but the Yamaha Motobot is a really big deal for a lot more reasons that are less obvious than what has been put forth. Let me explain.