Yamaha Motor and SRI International Announce Collaboration on the Development of a Motorcycle-Riding Humanoid Robot (MOTOBOT) at CES 2016

Groundbreaking autonomous robot designed to beat humans in high-performance motorcycle racing

MENLO PARK, Ca, January 7, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  At CES 2016, SRI International and Yamaha Motor Co.,Ltd (Yamaha Motor) announce their collaboration toward the development of MOTOBOT, the first autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot. MOTOBOT is designed to ride like a person in order to aid development of future motorcycles, improve motorcycle safety, and push the limits of what is possible in design and performance. The end performance goal of MOTOBOT is to be able to beat MotoGP world champion rider Valentino Rossi’s lap times around a racetrack.

160108 Yamaha motobot

Amish Parashar, director of Strategic Business Development at Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley Inc., and Thomas P. Low, associate director of Robotics at SRI International will describe MOTOBOT’s joint development by Yamaha Motor and SRI during a CES 2016 Robotics Conference presentation on January 8, 2016 at 11:30am.

Yamaha Motor launched the MOTOBOT project to pioneer a new approach to vehicle development using a humanoid robot capable of operating the motorcycle with the goal of exceeding a human – with little or no modifications made to the vehicle.

To make the MOTOBOT project a rapid reality, Yamaha Motor’s robotics and motorcycle engineers are collaborating with SRI International and its world-renowned robotics program. For more than 40 years, SRI has been at the forefront of robotics R&D, from applied research to the design of advanced prototypes and product development. MOTOBOT fuses Yamaha Motor’s technology gained from developing motorcycles and industrial robots with SRI’s expertise in developing humanoid robots that operate far more efficiently than current humanoid robotic platforms.

“Developing a humanoid vehicle rider is an ambitious effort, which is why we decided to work with SRI International, one of Silicon Valley’s great R&D powerhouses. This is a strong collaboration as we bring some experience in motorcycle racing and manufacturing robotics and SRI is making contributions to the field of robotics with breakthrough components and systems,” said Amish Parashar. “This project will be able to push several boundaries:  visualizing data about human motorcycle operation, further quantifying the relationship between rider input and machine behavior, and then using the resulting know-how to build even better vehicles.”


Going forward, technology for machine position recognition (including high-precision GPS and sensor fusion) and machine learning will be utilized to enable MOTOBOT to make its own decisions regarding the ideal line to take around a racetrack while pushing and adapting to the limits of a given motorcycle’s performance. This way MOTOBOT can improve its lap times with each successive lap of the track. Initial trials have begun in closed test areas – these will continue as development progresses.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Yamaha Motor on MOTOBOT in order to have a significant and positive impact on high-performance vehicle development,” added Thomas P. Low. “At CES, we will demonstrate how far humanoid robots have advanced in efficiency and performance, and how industry leaders such as Yamaha Motor can leverage robotics to solve business challenges, create competitive advantages and accelerate innovation.”

About SRI International

SRI International creates world-changing solutions making people safer, healthier, and more productive. SRI, a research center headquartered in Menlo Park, California, works primarily in advanced technology and systems, biosciences, computing, and education. SRI brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, spin-off ventures and new product solutions.

About Yamaha Motor

Yamaha Motor (TOKYO: 7272) is a global producer of motorcycles, marine products, power products and surface mounters. The company’s diverse business and wide variety of products are built around its proprietary technologies focused on small engines, fiberglass-reinforced plastics and electronic control. Yamaha Motor conducts global development, production and marketing operations through 140 subsidiaries and equity-method affiliates in 30 countries. About 90% of consolidated net sales are generated in more than 200 countries outside of Japan. The company is steadily restructuring its global engineering, manufacturing and marketing capabilities for sustainable long-term growth. Please visit http://global.yamaha-motor.com.

Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha Motor Company, Ltd. and exists to foster innovation through venture investment, strategic collaborations, and community outreach.