Yamaha Driverless Technology More Likely To Be Used For Future Car

Yamaha Sports Ride Concept

Reports in the Australian media this week that Yamaha is planning to have a self riding motorcycle available by 2026 may not be all they seem.

The Australian stories are quoting a report in the Financial Times that does say Yamaha Motor is aiming to bring self-driving technology to motorcycles.

But Yamaha Chief Executive, Hiroyuki Yanagi, says he does not envision a fully driverless motorcycle.

The erroneous reports seem to have been inspired by Yamaha’s $2 million investment in American start-up company Veniam which is developing connected vehicle technology.

Yamaha has a development division - Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory - based in Silicon Valley which is the same division involved in the development of MotoBot, Yamaha’s motorcycle riding robot.

While Yamaha’s interest in connected vehicle technology and autonomous technologies could eventually filter down to motorcycles, it is more likely to find it’s way into Yamaha’s third big attempt to break into the car market.

Yamaha aims to launch a two-seater commuter vehicle in Europe as early as 2019.

The entry into four wheel vehicles stems from Mr Yanagi’s desire to create revenue boosting businesses beyond motorcycles and boats.

The company showed its Sports Ride Concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show last November.

The car was developed with the help of South African engineer Gordon Murray, who is the man behind several dominant Formula One cars and the legendary McLaren F1 supercar.

While rapid progress is being made in the development of autonomous cars, the Chief Executive thinks it will take at least a decade to bring the same technology to two-wheelers on a commercial basis.

Even then, it seems it is not likely to extend as far as being fully autonomous for motorcycles.

“Our current target is how to assist the rider,” he said. “The rider can focus more on safety if the machine handling becomes autonomous and artificial intelligence can be used for course selection.”

About the author

Steve McDowall

Steve is the team’s motorcycle writer and contributes to the podcast each week. He started his “on air” career as a guest on 4BC where he met Joel, and has been with Behind the Wheel now for over 6 years. Steve’s fascination for anything with wheels and an engine started as a child and even though he still loves his cars, he found his true passion was with motorcycles. He is also an accredited rider trainer, consultant and coach. Check out Steve’s website – motorcyclelife.com.au

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