Honda's Asimo robot gets even more clever

If you thought Honda's Asimo humanoid robot was creepy before, you ain't seen nothing yet. Honda has just announced it's made Asimo even more clever, meaning it can interact with humans with even more intelligence and realism.

The Asimo robot is designed to act autonomously to perform uninterrupted service to visitors to Honda's offices.

Honda says it has developed a new intelligence technology that enhances smooth movement by enabling Asimo to "choose between stepping back and yielding the right-of-way or continuing to walk based on the predicted movement of oncoming people".

Asimo evolves

The Japanese innovators at Honda have also developed a new intelligence technology related to Asimo's ability to perform tasks such as carrying a tray and pushing a cart. It will now automatically charge its battery when the remaining battery level falls below a certain level as well.

Furthermore, a new co-operative system has been added so that multiple Asimos can share tasks by adjusting to the situation and working together in coordination.

For example, if one Asimo is recharging, other Asimo robots will step in and perform assigned tasks.

Honda will begin test operations of two Asimos equipped with these newly developed technologies on 12 December, at the second floor lobby of Honda's Aoyama headquarters in Japan.

New features in detail:

1. New function to work together In situations where more than one Asimo works together, information regarding the current status of each Asimo will be shared constantly among the multiple networked ASIMOs in order to share tasks in the most efficient manner.

More precisely, first, the distance between the current position of each Asimo and the site where each task needs to be performed will be calculated. Then, taking remaining battery levels into consideration, the most time efficient way to share tasks among the multiple Asimos will be determined. Based on this decision, each Asimo autonomously performs its assigned tasks.

2. New function to avoid oncoming people Asimo identifies oncoming people through its eye camera, calculates travelling direction and speed, predicts forthcoming movements of oncoming people, and chooses the most appropriate path so that it will not block the movement of others. When there is not enough space, Asimo will step back and yield the right-of-way.

3. New autonomous battery charging function A new battery charging station was developed for Asimo's autonomous recharging. When the remaining battery level falls below a certain level, Asimo will automatically identify and walk to the closest available battery charging station and re-charge while standing.

James Rivington

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