The story behind the Yamaha’s Motobot

In one of the ambitious moonshot projects from Yamaha in collaboration with SRI International.

SRI International was roped in as a joint partner because they had the same vision and objective as Yamaha, also they had a similar skillset.


The Question that Answers the objective

The objectives of the project were answered via the question below.

As Project Manager, Hiroshi Saijo, Yamaha talks.

  • How Yamaha can make a Robot that competes with world-class professional riders by lap time?

So Yamaha and SRI International started from scratch to build this MotoBot.

Again the idea and picture that was kept in mind are about Valentino Rossi.

Why Rossi?

The answer is easy. Rossi has not only nine-time MotoGP champion but also one of the most performance-oriented rider of all time.

Above all, his lap time on the course was 85 secs.

How MotoBot is made?

As Project Leader, Brian Foster, SRI International spoke about the Moto Bot.

Each component of the BOT was designed to exceed the Valentino Rossi’s performance. That started from a Carbon Fibre shell. Its a lightweight, and the total system weighs only 45 kgs.

The steering system contains the high power motor, and cycloidal drive is compact, efficient. The rear brakes are controlled by a twisted string actuator to provide efficient gear reduction.

Twisted String Actuator 

The front actuator is a tapering spiral pulley. This creates an actuator with an increasing gear ratio. Using this mechanism, motor position and brake pressure on a motorcycle have a linear relationship.

Tapered Pulley

This linear relationship allows for precise control of the brake pressure.

Then came the main task to set the target path for which the algorithms were developed.

The second challenge was to maintain the stability in collaboration with the speed.This is answered by the speed control logic. By taking the data from the professional riders.

High Power Motor

Another challenge was the bike should not fall while the MotoBot rides it even at low speeds. And to answer this, the simulation tests were carried out. These tests were performed by multiple engineers.

Next, hybrid simulation is performed by placing the actual Motobot on R1, and both are connected to the unique system tool with the real hardware operating.

Hybrid Simulation

Once the hybrid simulation was completed .The actual test wherein the MotoBot and R1 are brought on the track also the environment parameters are taken care like road surface conditions.

The last step is to carry out a sophisticated test that updates the step one. Also, the findings on the track improve the overall performance of the MotoBot.

The latest is version 2.0 of MotoBot. Well, Yamaha has definitely started to a trend in how Robots can ride the complicated MotoGP machines.

What will they work on next is a big question?

About Yamaha

Yamaha Motor Company Limited is a Japanese manufacturer of motorcycles, marine products such as boats and outboard motors, and other motorized products. The company was established in 1955 upon separation from Yamaha Corporation, and is headquartered in Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan.

About SRI International

From the computer mouse to robotic surgery, cancer treatments, and more, SRI’s 70+ years of innovation have created new industries, billions of dollars in market value, and lasting benefits to society.

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