Yamaha has laid out a rather ambitious goal of achieving zero motorcycle-accident-related deaths by 2050. To achieve this, Yamaha says, it is deploying a three-pronged approach of developing rider aids and technology, training riders to better their skills and creating an ecosystem of connected vehicles.
Yamaha working on self-balancing tech for two-wheelers
Electronic radar-assisted rider aids and airbag tech in the pipeline
Yamaha part of Connected Motorcycle Consortium with BMW, Honda
The most intriguing of these three is the technology that Yamaha is developing to prevent accidents and reduce the damage in the event that one occurs. The first signs of this have been seen in the newly updated Tracer 9 GT+ that debuted at EICMA, with features such as adaptive cruise control and a collision avoidance system. It deploys a forward-facing radar as well as a unified braking system that can apply and modulate brake pressure, and these features also work in conjunction with the semi-active electronic suspension.
But this is just the start, and Yamaha has a number of other, more advanced rider aids lined up for the future. The most eyebrow-raising of these is what it calls Advanced Motorcycle Stability Assist System (AMSAS). Still very much in the development stages, this system aims to aid low-speed stability at speeds of under 5kph, essentially creating a self-balancing motorcycle. It deploys actuators for the steering and the drive of the motorcycle, and using data from a six-axis IMU, it uses the actuators to stabilise the motorcycle and keep it upright.
Just how natural such a system will feel when it interferes with a lifetime's worth of rider muscle memory, is something that will be very interesting to experience. Yamaha is developing the system such that "it is highly applicable to existing models without changing the frame."
While this is the most prominent safety system under development by Yamaha, there are a number of others that the Japanese company is working on, including preventive systems such as a blind-spot warning system, rider assistance tech such as power steering for motorcycles, as well as damage limitation measures like airbags, both on the vehicle as well as worn by the rider. Currently, the only motorcycle to feature an airbag from the factory is the Honda Gold Wing.
Clearly, Yamaha is very committed to raising safety levels, and in addition to assisting the rider with technology, it also hopes to equip riders to help themselves, holding training camps and workshops. This is something that the company already does, with its Yamaha Riding Academy (YRA), and it hopes to scale up this operation in the coming years.
Finally, Yamaha is keen to develop a connected vehicle ecosystem to allow vehicles to communicate with one another and prevent accidents. This will involve a considerable amount of cooperation and co-development between manufacturers, and to this end, Yamaha has entered into the Connected Motorcycle Consortium with the likes of Honda and BMW, with KTM, Suzuki and Triumph likely to join the fray in the near future.