Yamaha Continues Its Work On Crash-Proof Moto Technology

Here's Yamaha's AMSAS system in its key components: A front wheel actuator and another actuator at the top of the fork, which move the bike forward and provide steering input to avoid low-speed crashes. Credit: Yamaha

Yamaha’s insiders say the company is about halfway-ready to release a new stability system for production motorcycles, designed to prevent tip-over crashes at low speeds.

The new Advanced Motorcycle Stabilization Assist System (AMSAS)  project officially broke cover in 2022, although Yamaha has actually been working on it for much longer; if you remember the Motoroid robot—that was the beginning of the R&D for this project, says Yamaha.

Remember the Motoroid project? Yamaha says that’s where the AMSAS development started. Credit: Yamaha

In its current form, AMSAS has three major components. A six-axis IMU tells the system which end is up, so to speak. The data from that IMU is fed into electronic brains, which then control actuators on the fork and front wheel to respectively steer and drive the bike forward. With these inputs, Yamaha says riders can avoid low-speed crashes. As per a recent newsletter:

Accidents involving motorcycles have been attributed primarily to recognition errors (10%), decision errors (17%), and operation errors (5%) on the part of the rider. Data also indicates that approximately 70% of motorcycle accidents occur within two seconds of the trigger leading to the accident. Based on these analyses of accident causes, Yamaha Motor’s development of rider aids is underway according to four vectors: assisted danger prediction, damage prevention and assisted defensive riding, assisted evasive riding maneuvers, and damage mitigation.

Unveiled last year, AMSAS stabilizes a vehicle’s attitude at low speeds by controlling drive forces and steering forces. “[Its most distinctive feature is] its approach to use an arrangement highly applicable to existing vehicles since it does not require any modifications to the frame,” says Project Leader Akitoshi Suzuki. The prototype system under development uses a production YZF-R25 for its platform and is equipped with a 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) along with drive and steering actuators.

AMSAS is a rider aid that focuses on the instability a motorcycle experiences when starting off or when riding at low speeds, and works to enhance the stability of the vehicle during these moments. “When starting or stopping, the drive actuator fitted to the front wheel aids with stability, and from there up to about 5 km/h, the steering actuator attached to the handlebars takes over,” explains Suzuki. Through the coordination of the two, the mid-development AMSAS prototype vehicle can move at walking speeds without falling over, regardless of the skill level of the rider aboard.

Yamaha’s newsletter says AMSAS technology will be able to adapt to not just other motorcycles (since it’s designed to work without modifying the frame), but even non-motorcycle vehicles such as bicycles.

For now, Yamaha has AMSAS fitted to a modified R25 sportbike, but theoretically it could be scaled to multiple motorcycles, as it involves no modification of the frame. Credit: Yamaha

Of course, Yamaha and other moto manufacturers are also working hard on developing radar- and camera-based collision avoidance systems, along with improved ABS, traction control and other safety systems that we’ve already seen on bikes for years.

However, it is worth noting that in its current form, AMSAS is not designed to prevent crashes at higher speeds, as some of those systems are. It is only for walking speeds, although we would eventually expect a system similar to automobile crash avoidance systems, which work at faster speeds. Such a system could be decades away, though; for now, we do expect to see AMSAS available on a production model in the next decade or so, seeing as Yamaha says it’s 50 percent finished at this point.


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