I guess that quite a lot of you have watched the latest Terminator installment, or at least the trailers, so you're probably familiar with the motorcycle-shaped robotic terminators introduced in this part of the “John Conner vs. Skynet” saga. At first, you might have thought that they were a little over the top, but the truth of the matter is that robots driving motorcycles are a lot closer than we might think.
In fact, such a device has already been developed and is working at full capacity as we speak. However, Flossie, as the robotic tester developed by the Castrol company is called, looks nothing like those things from Terminator... well, or at least for the time being.
As Jenny Gun from Asphalt & Rubber informs us, Flossie has been specifically designed in order to test various Castrol products in extreme conditions, which human testers would not be able to resist for long periods of time, due to the very high or low temperatures, the noise, and all the other factors that adversely affect the human being.
However, that's not a problem for Flossie, who has the built-in capability of learning how to drive any motorcycle, scooter, etc. you might set it on, including here such specific details as throttle sensitivity, clutch drag, shifting patterns, etc. Furthermore, after learning them, it can easily reproduce them, for future tests, thus reducing the possibility of error during testing, something that's inherent with human testing.
Of course, Flossie will never be able to drive itself out the door (it lacks the possibility of constantly adjusting the weight center, something that's vital in riding a motorcycle), but this technology is in fact quite interesting and we might see robots riding bicycles a lot sooner than any of us could have ever imagined.
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