Honda's ASIMO to get new capabilities

Honda has unveiled a series of "cutting-edge intelligence technologies" that improve ASIMO - its humanoid robot.

This improvements will enable ASIMO to operate autonomously with people and other ASIMOs, a crucial "co-existing" quality, helping pave ASIMO's way into mainstream society.

The motor marque says the advances bring Honda one step closer to the "development of a humanoid robot that can be put to practical use" in a real world situation where ASIMOs have to coexist with people.

The key technologies announced are, in Honda's words:

• A new system that enables multiple ASIMO humanoid robots to share tasks and work together to provide uninterrupted service to people. For example, if one ASIMO is recharging, other ASIMO robots can step in and perform the assigned tasks instead

• A newly added function enabling ASIMO to automatically charge its battery, when required

• An intelligence technology that enables ASIMO to avoid obstructions by choosing between stepping back and yielding the right-of-way or continuing to walk based on the predicted movement of oncoming people

• A new intelligence technology related to ASIMO’s ability to perform tasks such as carrying a tray and pushing a trolley.

To test these technologies, ASIMO will perform what's being described as "uninterrupted service" to lucky office guests at the second floor lobby of Honda's Aoyama Headquarters at certain times between December 12, 2007 and January 31, 2008.