In 2022, Yamaha announced plans to make motorcycling safer for all, with a central part of this initiative being the new Advanced Motorcycle Stabilization Assist System (AMSAS), or in layman’s terms – a bike that balances on its own.
The AMSAS works at speeds of up to 5mph, where bikes are much less vertically stable, and Jun Sakamoto, Yamaha’s head of safety strategy, explained its importance: “It’s to create conditions where the rider can focus more on operating their bike, so that everyone can enjoy that sense of being one with your machine. By providing an assist when the bike is more unstable and requires skill to operate, we want to deliver fun rooted in peace of mind to a wide range of riders.”
Yamaha has been one of the key players in self-balancing machinery, setting a goal to reduce the number of fatal motorcycle accidents to zero by 2050. Yamaha also pointed out that 70% of all motorcycle accidents happen within two seconds of the initial cause, which it claims is not enough time for some riders to be able to react accordingly, which is where AMSAS can provide potentially life-saving assistance.
Its first foray into the technology came in 2015 in the shape of the Motobot, which was then superseded by the Motodroid two years later, both of which were robotic systems capable of riding bikes without human intervention. The latter was even said to have been capable of lapping circuits faster than MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.
While neither Motobot or Motodroid really delivered on their promises, the technology was later used on the early versions of AMSAS. Currently sitting on a modified YZF-R25 test mule, Yamaha believes it is getting ever-closer to making this technology readily available to all customers, thanks in part to advances such as its radar-linked Unified Brake System, found on the 2023 Yamaha Tracer GT+.
“With the base technologies in place now, we’re halfway to our goal of bringing AMSAS’ value to customers,” said project leader Akitoshi Suzuki. “From here on, we’ll be working to downscale the sizes of the various components and so on, as we want to develop it into a platform not just for motorcycles, but one also adaptable to a wide range of other personal mobility applications, like bicycles.”