• Rossi shows the Yamaha Motobot who is boss.

But the DOCTOR won’t be comfortable the next time.

Artificial Intelligence has been the hot topic in the technology world with both sides of the table blaring horns debating its usefulness and its destructive capabilities. With personal devices like Amazon’s Alexa or a Google Home already entering our houses, Yamaha here is trying to make a robot that will try and beat THE DOCTOR himself.

Is this the future of MotoGP??? Luckily, not for a long time to come. Thanks to an Italian bloke called Mr. Rossi. But a scary thought nonetheless.

In a world of developing Artificial Intelligence, humans are pitted against robots, and we are losing miserably. Take factory jobs for example.

Yamaha, on the other hand, is making a robot that one day will challenge the legend himself, the 9 time Grand Prix Champion, Valentino Rossi, to beat his lap time. Teased at the ’15 Tokyo Motor Show, the ’Motobot’ is seen riding a unmodified R1 liter-class superbike and has now come a long way into its development.

 Rossi shows the Yamaha Motobot who is boss. Exterior
- image 741209

So long that it has now officially recorded a lap time of 1:25.74 around the 3.2km Thunderhill Raceway Park circuit in California. The same track where Rossi did it taking 32 seconds lesser.

“I am MOTOBOT. I was created to surpass you.”

 Rossi shows the Yamaha Motobot who is boss. Exterior
- image 741208

Even though the Motobot didn’t live up to the challenge, the fact that it has the electro-testicular fortitude to call out The Doctor is remarkable. I’m pretty sure you and I will be beaten shamelessly if we take out the R1 for a lap-time at the same venue. (Unless you are some pro-rider, and if you think you are, I think you should do it, just to keep your integrity).

The Motobot, just like us, wasn’t a born racer. Stage one was where all the BOT had to do was to do 60 mph in a straight line, negotiate a slalom and learn to take some corners. Then, it had to touch the 125mph mark to show that it was ready to challenge Valentino Rossi.

 Rossi shows the Yamaha Motobot who is boss. Exterior
- image 741207

And finally, that day came and the Motobot took all three years of its development to put it one full lap of the Thunderhill Raceway Park circuit in California. But as you can see, Rossi was able to comfortably beat the Motobot.

The video ends with the Motobot’s conscience:

"I can see you now, far off in the distance. If I can learn more about you, perhaps someday I will catch up to you."

 Rossi shows the Yamaha Motobot who is boss. Exterior
- image 741210

Yamaha doesn’t see this as a failure. But as the biggest success for the entire project. This has given them great hopes and they will fire on all pistons to make the Motobot wat it was initiated for in the first place: to gather information to be used to develop rider-support systems and features to help human riders avoid accidents, and, of course, to beat V.Rossi one day in the future.

I don’t know how Rossi feels about it, but I am sure excited and intimidated.

 Rossi shows the Yamaha Motobot who is boss. Exterior
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Sagar Patil
Sagar Patil
Motorcycle industry expert since 1997! - sagar@topspeed.com
Over the years, a deeper conscience of machines moving body and soul has given him a crisp grasp over the concepts of motorcycling. A sucker for details and common sense, he loves getting his hands dirty every once in a while. His love affair with motorcycles ushers in the specialist skillset making Sagar our go-to expert for everything on two-wheels.  Read full bio
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