Yamaha has its sights set on self-driving vehicles, both for private and commercial use.
Diehard, purist motorcyclists would often scoff at modern technology incorporated in motorcycles. I, myself, used to be guilty of this. However, just as in most other sectors, technology is the major force behind innovation in the motorcycle industry, and it appears that tech innovations as outlandish as self-driving motorbikes are on the horizon.
The good thing about this tech, though, is that it will still allow riders to take full control of the vehicle whenever they want, while stepping in when it comes to the more boring and mundane aspects of riding, such as long journeys on the highway, or boring stints through residential areas. With its MOTOBOT line of riding robots, Yamaha in particular has been experimenting with autonomous driving technology for motorbikes for some time. Additionally, the business has kept up its investment in TIER IV Inc., a pioneer in the development of autonomous driving technologies.
Having previously invested in TIER IV in August 2017 and July 2019, the most recent deal between the Japanese corporation and TIER IV is their third such investment. The creator of Autoware, the first open source self-driving operating system in the world, is the creation TIER IV, and it poses great potential to the future of mobility. So, what does “open source” actually entail in this situation? Well, TIER IV intends for other programmers to use, adapt, and enhance the Autoware OS by making the source code of the software available to anyone, and configurable for use in a variety of applications.
In the grand scheme of things, Yamaha’s involvement in this is motivated by the desire to support and advance autonomous driving technology in a variety of different applications. Furthermore, Yamaha’s automated transport solutions, which it is developing for industrial applications, could potentially benefit form such autonomous driving technology.
Yamaha mentions leading tire and automotive components manufacturer Bridgestone Corporation, as well as Sompo Holdings, Inc., one of the top insurance providers in Japan, as additional TIER IV investors in its official press release. As a part of its Medium-Term Management Plan for 2022 through 2024, Yamaha identified a number of companies with the intention of driving them into future core businesses, with TIER IV being one of them.