Do you remember Asimo? Yes, the robot that played soccer with ex-US President Barack Obama. Well, its parent, Honda, has killed it after just 18 years of its existence. The automaker has ditched the Asimo project and will relocate the resources to other divisions within the company.
Honda debuted Asimo in 2000, showcasing it as the result of its vast decades worth of research and development in the field of robotics. Asimo was essentially a humanoid with the abilities to balance itself and walk, similar to how humans do. The latest model was in its seventh generation and could achieve walking speeds of up to 9km/h — thanks to a wide array of advanced sensors that helped it stay on foot.
While the robot may have put Japan on the front in the field of robotics, the project wasn’t ready to be commercialised, thereby leading to no major income from the project. Therefore, Honda decided to axe the program. However, the research and development behind Asimo wouldn’t go wasted as Honda aims to implement the learnings in the auto and healthcare sector.
Honda has already demonstrated Asimo’s technology in its self-balancing motorcycle at a US electronics show last year. The motorcycle used some of the sensors on Asimo to help it correct steering inputs on its own to maintain the balance in the vent of the rider losing control over the vehicle. Honda is also working on a rehabilitation device that relies on Asimo's walking mechanisms to support physical therapy. Using a motor that moves the legs of elderly or disabled patients, it will help them walk easily. However, the technology is seeking medical approval for the device around the world.