With all the companies working on self-driving cars right now, it can be difficult for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Yamaha, however, is sure to stand out from the crowd with their newest project Motobot, a robot designed to ride a motorcycle on its own. But simply riding a motorcycle isn’t enough—the company’s hope is to eventually create a machine that can “surpass” humans!

We know what you may be thinking: “A motorcycle-riding robot that’s better than humans? Is Yamaha building a freaking terminator?!” Fortunately, no, but Motobot will, one day, be a better rider than any human—at least that’s Yamaha’s goal.

▼ Motobot seems pretty sure of itself in this video…

Even with the creepy voice-over, the video is pretty amazing! For one thing, Motobot is entirely self-contained as Yamaha is working develop a robot that can ride a motorcycle without modification. Instead of changing the vehicle, as with self-driving cars, the designers are putting all the balancing and driving technology into its cobalt-blue, metal rider.

▼ No word on if makes “vroom, vroom” sounds itself though.


Right now, Motobot can drive up to 100 kilometers per hour (about 62 MPH), go in a straight line, or even navigate a slalom. But the goal is for Motobot to be able to beat the lap times of Valentino Rossi, one of the world’s top professional motorcycle riders.

That might seem far-fetched, but the company seems to think they can do it. As explained on Yamaha’s Motobot website:

“Going forward, technology for machine position recognition (high-precision GPS, various sensors, etc.) and machine learning will be utilized to enable MOTOBOT to make its own decisions regarding the best lines to take around a racetrack and the limits of the motorcycle’s performance, so that it can improve its lap times with successive laps of the track.”

▼ But will it need our clothes?


Though Motobot is still far from reaching race speeds, the team behind it seems to be confident that it’s just a matter of time. And not even a lot of time; their goal for 2017 is to figure out what is necessary to ride beyond the capabilities of a human and to lap a racetrack at 200 kilometers per hour (about 124 MPH).


Beyond that, the goal is to use what is learned from Motobot to deliver “new value to customers.” Exactly what form that will take, no one seems to know yet, but we don’t imagine Motobot will ever be a mass-produced product. After all, the whole point of motorcycles is to drive them yourself! Still, we imagine that this might be a good alternative for automated deliveries of items too big for flying drones but not large enough for cars.

▼ It’ll be even better if it can walk up to your door and ring the bell!


You can learn more about Motobot on Yamaha’s official website or see the robot in the metallic flesh at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Sources: Yamaha MotorsITMedia
Images: Yamaha Motors