Honda Motor Co Ltd is accelerating its efforts toward a society where humans and robots coexist. The company exhibited four kinds of robots at CES2018, a large-scale trade show about electronics, which took place from Jan 9 to 12, 2018, in Las Vegas, the US.
"We engage in research and development of robotics technologies with a concept of expanding human possibilities," said Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, president of Honda R&D Co Ltd, at a press conference at the show Jan 9, 2018.
Speaking of Honda's robot, the "Asimo" humanoid robot is famous. But it was not developed for coexistence with humans. It is because the Asimo was not designed under the premise that it interacts with humans. Still, many people say that they want to touch an Asimo, Honda R&D said.
In response to such demand, Honda developed the "3E-A18" communication robot. It is a curvy self-standing robot whose height is 115cm. The company used a soft material for its exterior so that people want to hug it.
Honda expects that the robot will be equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) for reading human emotions. The robot also changes its expression (e.g. delight, anger, sorrow and pleasure) in accordance with situations.
The remaining three robots were developed based on the "Robotics Platform" concept. By changing attachments, they can be used for various purposes. It comes in small, middle and large sizes. And the small- and medium-size robots were also exhibited at Tokyo Motor Show 2017.
The large-size robot, which was unveiled this time, is a four-wheeled compact car called "3E-D18." Honda does not expect that it will carry people. It can operate even on rough roads in farms and mountainous areas. It can be used for fire extinguishing, farming, sports training, etc.
By using the exhibition of the robots as an opportunity, Honda plans to partner with other companies that will use the Robotics Platform in the aim of expanding its robot business.