The Strategist

Yamaha Goes Autonomous

03/29/2016 - 15:55

Yamaha is actively investing in US start-ups operating in the field of autonomous vehicles. The Japanese believe that it will help them accelerate creation of a motorcycle with elements of autonomous control. Previously, the company introduced a concept of Motobot robot, which can drive a motorcycle.

Iwao via flickr
Iwao via flickr
Yamaha's Head Hiroyuki Yanagi said in an interview with The Financial Times that his company is actively working with American startups, developing autonomous driving technology. Obviously, Yamaha's investment in these startups ($ 2 million) is not commensurate with the Japanese automakers' investment in the development of self-managing car (for example, the Toyota put $ 1 billion in). However, the motorcycle manufacturer said it has all the chances to achieve results. Last year, Yamaha introduced a concept of Motobot robot, which can drive a motorcycle. Thus, the Japanese company has proven feasibility of the introduction of artificial intelligence in a motorcycle system.

Yamaha's management claims that the goal is not the creation of a fully self-governing motorcycle, but rather the development of management systems with extensive autonomous control and driver assistance. The company has already embedded sensors to monitor the venichle's performance in tight turns. "Our current goal is to help the driver, - said the Japanese top manager.- If driving becomes more autonomous and artificial intelligence is used to select the path, the driver can concentrate on security more ."

According to PwC's estimates for the past year, the volume of mergers and acquisitions in the market of suppliers for the automotive industry reached almost $ 50 billion, which is more than three times more than in 2014. This largely contributed by the automotive industry's need for new technical possibilities. At that, forecasts similar to a report of IHS Automotive market research firm are not surprising. According to them, after 20 years, the number of unmanned vehicles and vehicles with automatic control system sold annually will reach 21 million. The experts believe that this market is worth fighting. "This transition to self-governing cars and companies engaged in this sector are now the hottest and attractive - said BMW i-Ventures Investment Advisor Mark Platshon to WSJ . - $ 1 billion is a small price to pay to ensure your participation in this game ". Experts say that the market now has enough startups to acquire. Among them, for example, are California-based company ZOOX, which creates a robot taxi with an unusual design, nuTonomy, which programs help autonomous vehicle plan their motion, or, creating artificial intelligence for such vehicles.