Japan's Yamaha Motor Co showcases a motorcycle-riding humanoid robot, with developers saying the technology could one day present an alternative to driverless cars. Matthew Stock reports.
Hot on the tracks of driverless cars, Yamaha unveils a robot that rides motorcycles. The Japanese company says it's completely autonomous - twisting the throttle when it wants to go faster... as well as breaking and changing through the gears. The humanoid - dubbed 'MOTOBOT Ver. 1' - analyses its location and route via a global positioning system... all without human input. This model can hit speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, though it still needs stabilisers either side to help keep its balance at slower speeds. Launched at the Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha says robots like this could one day drive any car - making current 'driverless' technology unnecessary. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) YAMAHA MOTOR VENTURES & LABORATORY SILICON VALLEY INC CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, HIROSHI SAIJOU, SAYING: "If a society where driverless cars are prevalent is happy and safe, then I want to make it happen quickly. In order to make that happen quickly, tuning cars isn't enough, because you need to repurchase everything. Our concept is that, if you put this robot in your car, your car will drive itself from tomorrow. That's the kind of world I want to create." Yamaha says the technology used in Motobot will also be used to develop better rider safety and support systems. They're also aiming to build a robot which can ride an unmodified motorcycle on a racetrack at more than 200 km/h.