Business | Automotives

Asimo ready to serve humans in 15 years

Honda hopes humanoid robot currently used for research and development would make debut as helper

  • By Kevin Scott, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 November 13, 2011
  • Gulf News

The Asimo by Honda, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, entertains the crowd
  • Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News
  • The Asimo by Honda, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, entertains the crowd at the 2011 Dubai Motor Show.

Dubai: Japanese car manufacturer Honda hopes to make its humanoid robot Asimo available for sale within the next 10-15 years.

At present, there are less than 50 Asimos worldwide and they are only used for research and development purposes.

However, Honda's long-term goal is to introduce the robot into society, where it will be able to perform a variety of roles in both the home and workplace.

The latest version of Asimo, which is currently displaying its talents at the Dubai International Motor Show, can run faster, recognise faces and voices, and navigate unsteady terrain.

"Asimo is not here to replace human beings; it is here to help them," said William De Braekeleer, head of public relations for Honda Europe.

"We are already surrounded by robots providing services; just look at ATM cash machines. Asimo will be able to help at home but also in society at large. For example, it could help certain professionals, such as nurses, by carrying out menial tasks, allowing them to focus on the more important work," he added.

Honda President Takanobu Ito said last week some of Asimo's technology had been used to develop a robotic arm with the intention of helping to deal with the nuclear crisis in northeastern Japan.

Ito said Asimo had developed autonomous artificial intelligence so it could potentially manoeuvre itself through crowds of people without remote control or stopping each time to check on its programming.

Introduction

Asimo, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, was introduced to the world in 2000 although Honda has been developing a humanoid robot since 1986.

The latest version of Asimo continuously evaluates input from multiple sensors and then evaluates the situation, meaning it is now capable of responding to the movement of people.

"We hope people can buy an Asimo within 10-15 years," De Braekeleer said. "Is it possible every house will have an Asimo in the future? Who knows, people asked the same question after the first computer was unveiled.

"Of course there is a PR advantage to Asimo but it is also a great opportunity for Honda to show off the level of its technology," he added.

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