Yamaha's Self-Balancing Motorcycle Seeks to Push Human-Machine Interface

When developing a new motorcycle, Yamaha Motor’s ideal outcome, called Jin-Ki Kanno, is lofty: “To deliver users the seductive exhilaration felt when they truly become one with their machine.”

To achieve this, they reckon the bike, not just the rider, ought have some autonomy. Thus in 2017, the company built a wild self-balancing concept bike called the MOTOROiD. They developed a technology called AMCES (loosely, “Active Mass Center Control System”) that runs a diagonal axis through the bike, on which the front and rear halves can twist independently of each other:

“The machine’s attitude control is handled by rotating parts of the machine like the battery, swingarm and rear wheel around the AMCES axis that runs through the center of the vehicle (see figure) in order to control its center of gravity.”

“During rotation, the battery moves either right or left, acting as a counterweight that enables the machine to maintain balance and remain upright at a standstill. The inner frame unit area rotates around the AMCES axis via electronic control.”

This year they refined the design further, and have designed this even wilder-looking MOTOROiD 2:

“What will human–machine interfaces actually be like in the future? This experimental model melds mobility with intelligent technologies in order to study that question. Yamaha Motor hypothesized that achieving a closer relationship between rider and machine in which they resonate harmoniously with each other like partners would lead to new forms of Jin-Ki Kanno, and since unveiling the MOTOROiD in 2017, the Company has since continued its R&D into technologies, designs, and more based on that concept.”

Like the first MOTOROiD, there’s a camera in the front that uses facial recognition to identify the owner upon approach. It then hails him or her with this mechanical demonstration:

“As a further evolution of the original MOTOROiD, MOTOROiD2 is also a vehicle for personal mobility that can recognize its owner, get up off its kickstand, and move alongside its rider, but also has a distinctly lifelike feel when somebody is riding on its back and has a presence more like a lifetime companion.”

I understand the appeal of having a bike that can follow you, rather that you having to push it. What’s less clear is how Yamaha intends to incorporate the technology during actual riding. We’ll have to wait for the company to release a demo video.

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