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Yamaha's robot motorcycle rider could challenge real racers

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Humans might not be the fastest things on two wheels before long. Yamaha has unveiled Motobot, a robot designed to ride superbikes much like you would -- it even has to twist the throttle to get moving. This initial version travels slowly and needs training wheels to avoid tipping over in a turn, so it's not about to compete on the MotoGP circuit just yet. However, Yamaha ultimately hopes to get Motobot blasting along at more than 120MPH on a race track. It goes so far as to put racing legend Valentino Rossi on notice, as you'll see in the promo video below.

Not that you're going to see robots taking over racing leagues any time soon. Instead, Yamaha sees its robotic rider as a testbed for rider safety and support systems, both of which have to work well under punishing conditions. It could also lead to technology that's useful outside of the motorbike world, for that matter. Think of this as inspiring creative solutions to unusual problems, rather than an explicit attempt to beat flesh-and-bone motorcyclists -- any race victories are just icing on the cake.

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