ROBRADY design

Yamaha Puts The Emphasis On “A-Ha!” At TMS

ROBRADY reports: The 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

ROBRADY’s Director of Design Rob Brady and Senior Designer Erik Holmen traveled to the warm and inviting city of Tokyo this week for the Tokyo Motor Show, and what a show it was.

“Without question,” states Brady, “this year’s Motor Show was a true spectacle, showcasing the road ahead in transportation technology and blazing new ones as well.”

Some of the most excited attendees at TMS were the exhibitors themselves. This was clear as we spoke with Yamaha’s Global Design Director Dezi Nagaya (is a cooler name for a design director even possible?) who beamed about his company’s broad offerings like a proud parent. From e-cycles to motorbikes, from racing robots to revolutionary SUVs, Yamaha was a showstopper and here are just some examples that we think prove it:

Motobot
Gifted with AI, Motobot can learn to ride a motorcycle. And since its creation in 2015, it’s learned a lot. Earlier this year, the audacious automaton reached two milestones: achieving 200 mph on a test track and challenging the world’s foremost motorcycle racing champion Valentino Rossi to a race. Though Rossi won, Motobot’s impressive (scary?) performance showed that its abilities for path correction, acceleration, deceleration, and attitude adjustment will only improve. Rematch, anyone?

Motoroid
A little friendly robo-competition aside, Yamaha strives for greater human/machine cooperation as demonstrated by the scene-stealing Motoroid. As Yamaha President Hiroyuki Yanagi extolled Motoroid’s image recognition, robotics, and AI, during his presentation, the sleek and striking motorbike sat stage left…until Yanagi called it over. Motoroid retracted its kickstand, righted itself, and then wheeled easily over to the Yamaha exec. While it stopped just short of rolling over or playing dead, Motoroid’s image recognition and robotic technology make its abilities more than just sideshow gimmickry. The vehicle’s capacity to adjust its attitude when a rider is starting the engine or navigating uneven terrain is just one way that tomorrow’s vehicles will enhance user experience.

The Cross Hub SUV
With bold styling and innovative lighting systems, the Cross Hub instantly stakes Yamaha’s claim it the sport utility market. Yet, if these design features weren’t eye-catching enough, the Cross Hub’s diamond-shaped seat configuration is guaranteed to raise eyebrows and heart rates. The novel orientation puts the driver front and center and maximizes space for gear, groceries, or—as shown at TMS—other vehicles. Two motorbikes fit comfortably in the bed for those occasions when the journey requires two wheels instead of four.

At the close of the Tokyo Motor Show, our good friends at Yamaha extended a gracious invitation to visit their new design center in Iwata. We could think no better way to end a phenomenal visit to Japan. Yet, while the connection between human and machine had been at the forefront of the two-day event, it was the connection of human to human that left the greater impression.

“Collaboration is part of the Yamaha culture,” reflects Brady. “All departments and disciplines are integral to their success and to bringing a better future that much closer to reality.”

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