Author: Sean MacDonald
Originally published on cycleworld.com November 3, 2017
Yamaha claimed back in 2015 that it would build a robot that could ride a motorcycle around a racetrack faster than Valentino Rossi, the man considered the greatest roadracer of all time.
It’s now two years later and Yamaha’s Motobot can not only operate a motorcycle, but it can do so at speeds faster than most humans. Rossi isn’t most humans, however, so Yamaha decided it was time to see just how far it had come, and that meant having a little race.
For some reason, that race brought the Japanese company and Italian motorcycle racer to the small West Loop of Thunderhill Raceway, just an hour north of Sacramento, California (a track I got home from yesterday), to put rubber to pavement.
As you likely guessed before watching, Motobot is not yet able to best Rossi—finishing a good 30 seconds after the MotoGP racer.
But that doesn’t mean this is a total defeat for Yamaha and the Motobot team. Not only is getting within 75 percent of Rossi’s time a feat for anyone, to come so far in so little time is truly incredible.
It’s only a matter of time until Motobot is able to perfectly operate a motorcycle at the absolute limit of its ability.
Here’s another cool video Yamaha created showing exactly what Motobot is doing as it controls the motorcycle around the track: