Honda’s ASIMO, a humanoid robot designed to help people with their everyday lives, will soon stop being produced. Short for Advanced Step in Mobility Technology, the robot was first imagined in 1986 and was introduced in America in 2002. It is the first robot ever to be able to walk around independently on two legs; it can walk up stairs, turn on light switches, open doors, carry objects, and push carts. Truly an unprecedented AI, ASIMO can even recognize moving things like humans and animals, reconfigure its center of gravity, and interpret voice commands and human gestures. Improving on to the aforementioned abilities, Honda had constantly been advancing ASIMO’s potential over the years.
ASIMO is, without doubt, an incredible feat of engineering and is capable of assisting humans in their everyday lives to an extent. However, the company recently revealed that it would discontinue manufacturing the robot in order to use its technology in cases of nursing and road transport. This is no surprise, considering that these are situations that humans need more immediate assistance in. The acclaim of the Da Vinci surgical system proves that robots are able to accomplish certain tasks that are very difficult or even impossible for us to do.
In place of ASIMO, Honda has showcased four new helper bots at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018. Each have a focus on separate tasks: one is an emotional support companion, two are mobility-focused bots, and the last is a carrier robot. By breaking up and assigning a task to each robot, consumers will be able to buy a bot that specializes in what they want it to do. Although ASIMO reportedly will be “performing at locations inspiring young people to choose a career in STEM,” Honda will focus on developing new robots that are just as user-friendly and useful as ASIMO.
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