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Will Yamaha’s Motorcycle-Riding Robot Outpace Human Drivers

Petrolheads beware: humans might not be the only thing cruising the MotoGP circuit before long. At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha unveiled version 1 of the “Motobot,” an autonomous, motorcycle-riding humanoid robot.

It’s only a prototype model, and the tech still needs quite a bit of R&D before it takes on racing legend Valentino Rossi (who Yamaha put on blast in the promo video), but the goal is to get the gadget driving at an impressive 120 mph. Despite needing a pair of training wheels, Motobot already looks quite comfortable on the runway, operating the throttle, clutch, and break as it whips around the airfield.

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Before you get your Robocop-fearing undies in a bunch, you should know that Yamaha doesn’t have plans to send Motobot into law enforcement – at least for now. Instead, the development team views their creation as a good alternative to traditional dummies for safety and support testing.

“The task of controlling the complex motions of a motorcycle at high speeds requires a variety of control systems that must function with a high degree of accuracy,” they explain. “We want to apply the fundamental technology and know-how gained in the process of this challenge to the creation of advanced systems.”

The engineers also hinted that Motobot could be used to pioneer “new lines of business.” Whether that means they’re developing autonomous motorcycles remains a mystery (as does the reason they gave Motobot the world’s creepiest voice), but it looks like Google might have some competition on the horizon.

Let’s just hope that whatever they’re cooking up next, it doesn’t get road rage.

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IMAGES: Yamaha

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