Honda stops development of two-legged robots Asimo
Who does not know Asimo? This bipedal robot once conquered the world by the fact of its appearance and many of us remember this strange mechanism for a long time as a child. But now Honda is closing the project.
ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) is probably one of the most famous humanoid robots. Honda began developing robots androids back in the 1980s; then in the 1990s the company built a number of prototypes, and in October 2000 introduced ASIMO.
Since then, Honda has continued to develop ASIMO; The latest version of the robot – from 2014 – in height reaches 130 centimeters, weighs 50 kilograms and can move up to seven kilometers per hour.
The Asimo project itself did not see any big updates since the substantial processing of the autonomy in 2011, and since it does not have any future in the form of a commercial product, the company’s bosses decided to remove the plug from the outlet. However, Honda will continue to work on robotics and artificial intelligence – about a third of the initiatives, along with mobile and energy solutions, will be devoted to these two areas.
According to Kyodo News, the company officially stated that it will develop other two-legged robots, but they will have names different. Itself Asimo, it seems, now becomes a collection robot.
The failure of Japanese robots in an attempt to cope with the consequences of the accident at Fukushima gave birth to a crisis in the industry. Catastrophes like this are like the last exam for robots. If robots are unable to help people in extreme conditions, what’s the use of them?
Initially, the production of a humanoid robot will be very expensive, and the robot itself will be much less capable than a human. The creation of such a robot will not be economically feasible. It is much more profitable to build a robot that will cope with work that is too dangerous for people. But as Fukushima has shown, robots of even one of the most advanced nations in the world are not ready to replace people in the most difficult conditions.
Nowhere this crisis was felt more than in Honda. The company developed ASIMO, which surprised the world in 2000, and continues to develop robots. But, despite all the technological progress, Honda knew that ASIMO is too unreliable for the real world.
Now Honda announced that it is winding down the project, reports Engadget. According to the company, the technologies used in ASIMO will find application in other products of the company, for example in exoskeleton for assistance in rehabilitation of Walking Assist or technology for self-balancing motorcycle Riding Assist.
Although Honda stops the development of ASIMO, which does not have a future as a commercial product, the company does not intend to abandon the spheres of robotics and artificial intelligence: in its strategic plan Vision 2030 this segment takes one third. According to Kyodo News, a representative of Honda said that the company plans to develop other biped robots, but they probably will not be called ASIMO.
It was Fukushima that caused changes in Honda’s approach to robotics. Two years after the disaster, it became known that Honda is developing a robot for disasters, and in October 2017, the public was first introduced to its prototype. What is noteworthy, the creators decided not to give the robot clever hands, and instead provided him with remotely controlled tools that, if necessary, would be used in emergency conditions.
This shift from the creation of humanoid robots for entertainment like ASIMO to the creation of useful rescue robots has been reflected all over the world. Farewell, Asimo.