We said 2019 will be the year of legged robots. Well, it looks like the Honda ASIMO robot won’t be part of that plan.
Development on the Honda ASIMO robot has stopped, according to multiple reports. Honda says it will continue researching humanoid robots, but they won’t have the ASIMO name. Honda’s main focus will shift to using some of ASIMO’s technology to develop robots for more practical applications, including nursing and road transport.
The Nikkei Asian Review, for example, reports that Honda ASIMO technology helped lead to the development of a $2500 robot lawnmower. NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, reports the Honda ASIMO team has already been disbanded. Honda denies this, but NHK hints at increasing competition in the field, specifically Boston Dynamics’ incredible Atlas humanoid robot, as a reason for ceasing development.
ASIMO, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, was introduced in 2000 and has been a symbol of Japan’s robotics expertise. The Honda ASIMO robot is adept at walking, runs 5.6 MPH, climbs stairs, and even hops on one leg. It can also recognize moving objects, determine the distance and direction of the objects and interpret voice commands and human gestures. The 4-foot-3-inch robot weighs 119 pounds and has a one-hour battery life.
The seventh-generation Honda ASIMO was introduced in 2011 with improved intelligence and the ability to autonomously determine its next moves. According to Kyodo News, that was the last time the Honda ASIMO was upgraded.
Honda actually began researching walking robots in the 1980s. There was the E Series from 1987-1993 that Honda engineers used to establish stable walking technology. Honda then followed up with the P Series until 2000 when ASIMO was introduced. Check out the history of Honda’s robot developments here to see how far its come with walking robots.
There’s hasn’t been a company that’s yet figured out how to really monetize bipedal robots. Agility Robotics has sold several Cassie bipedal robots to universities, but it never felt like Honda ever wanted ASIMO to be anything other than a marketing prop used for demos and photo ops with President Obama.
Perhaps the Honda ASIMO was developed too early to have any practical use, similar to what happened with the Jibo social robot. In 2013, Honda announced it was working on a disaster response robot based on ASIMO. And in October 2017 it gave us a sneak peek at the 5-foot-6-inch tall, 187-pound E2-DR humanoid that can climb stairs, negotiate obstacles, and even fit through tight spaces.
With the major improvements to Atlas, and the welcomed addition of Cassie, we can only wonder what could have been had the Honda ASIMO been a priority for the last seven years. Perhaps it would be the Honda ASIMO doing flips and going for a job, not Atlas. For years, Asimo didn’t have any serious competition. That’s certainly not the case now.
If you want a little more detail on the direction Honda is taking some of its robotics development, here’s a glimpse at the robots Honda introduced at CES 2018.
Sheryl Smalley says
My mother has Dementia and gets very upset when we try to help her with daily things. I am looking to find something that could assist her in her daily needs but also would not get their feelings hurt being yelled at all the time. It would also be nice to have a robot that could play a game with her or sit and watch television while I take care of the household chores. It is too expensiive to hire help and the State doesn’t want to help. I know a robot would not be cheap but maybe you could start thinking about a way to help all us families in need. I greatly appreciate your time and consideration.
Oh boy, You really don’t understand how robotics works do you? r/woooosh
Eventually, one of the applications of robotics in japan is to help elderly. As people have less children, demographics have shifted and now there are far less young people paying taxes to help with elderly.
Can these products be purchased in Australia and also is Asimo in the production stage and can be purchased for the home, I started following Asimo a few years now and would like considering (Maybe) Purchasing if possible. Yours, sincerely ‘Ken’
E zhou says
Sad to learn that development has come to an end.Asimo had become a darling to watch.
Very sad that the Asimo project came to an end for the usual topics regarding it’s non-profitability as a product (most people don’t know it costs over 2 million USD and can function for max 1 hour on battery).
It was a courageous project that started having human environments/interaction in mind, with somewhat of a goal into medical assistance and home housekeeping…this latter task that is currently addressed by far less complex and expensive wheeled robots.
It is very disappointing to see on the contrary how the Atlas project, that most clearly has military goals (all-terrain moving performance, overcoming obstacles and jumping over things)….unless they want to create a gymnast which I truly doubt… finds continuous funding and development.
Asimo could have been one day a perfect nurse for the sick and companion to the elderly so it gets dropped because non-profitable.
Atlas could be one day a perfect killing machine so “hurray!” let’s fund that bottomless because it WILL BE profitable.
Humanity is too stupid and won’t go very far.
Instead we got Alexa she does nothing can honda stop building cars and refocus on robotics. Since the covid19 everything has change and if there was a time for robots it’s now. I prefer to have a robotic companion than a car 💯 so come on honda bring back asimo.
It’s taken years to build and your gonna shut it down. That’s a silly aim. For all the people who see robotics as a weapon well asimo is 4ft 😂😂 (calm down goblins) too much sci-fi because your car can kill you too but hey we not got say that cars are robotics I might offend someone.
My only request is this when they decide to bring asimo back can we have him on finance working 9 to 5 don’t pay that much.
Karen Luce says
I’m sorry to hear that
Asimo is no longer in existence. So many people could have benefited with this technology. I would hope that Honda changes their mind.