Yamaha has unveiled Motobot, a motorcycle-riding robot at the Tokyo Motor Show at the end of October 2015, sparking concerns about the extent of electronic intervention for 'rider safety'. The robot was one of several interesting displays on the Yamaha stand including electric motorcycles and even a car powered by a motorcycle engine.
Yamaha says its goal is for Motobot to be able to ride an unmodified motorcycle on a racetrack at more than 200km/h. It also says it wants to apply some of the technology to safety and rider support systems and 'pioneer new lines of business', which could mean that Yamaha is planning to follow Bosch and Continental into electronic rider safety systems.
Meanwhile, Yamaha's concept car, the Sports Ride Concept, is similar to the Honda track day car powered by its MotoGP-derived four-cylinder engine from the exclusive RC213V-S sportsbike and unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It shows Yamaha is also serious about 'new lines of business' after earlier announcing plans to make small cars for selected markets from 2019 featuring 1000cc motorcycle engines. It's not the company's first foray into four wheels, having developed engines for Toyota, the Lexus LFA V10, Ford's SHO V6, and Formula 1racers. In the early '90s it also made the 335kW V12 OX99-11 supercar. In 2013 Yamaha exhibited a prototype 1000cc engine car and an electric-car battery at the Tokyo Motor Show. This time it's mid-engined sports car.
Yamaha has also released updated versions of its electronic motorcycles which it plans to put into production this year. Yamaha unveiled its Passion Electric Street (PES) electric street bike and Passion Electric Dirt (PED) electronic off-roader in 2014, promising to go to market with the motorcycles. The company has now released the PES2 and PED2 with cosmetic and unspecified technology updates ready for production. The street bike is now two-wheel drive with a second motor in the front wheel, although a two-wheel-drive dirt bike would be more useful.