And it’s totally mesmerizing to watch in action. The video above shows the company’s Motobot—literally, a robotic motorcyclist that sits atop a standard Yamaha and controls and balances the bike—as it charges around a racetrack and tries to beat a time set by world champion Valentino Rossi.
As IEEE Spectrum notes, Motobot doesn’t deal with new environments the way an Uber or Waymo autonomous car can. But it uses GPS and inertial measurements to place itself on a high-res map of a track to within an inch, and then uses that information to control the bike so that it can follow a course. And it does so at speeds of up to 124 miles per hour in a straight line.
Sadly, it can’t keep up with Rossi, though: it took 117.50 seconds to perform a lap, compared with the pro’s 85.74 seconds. Maybe next time, Motobot.
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