Honda Creates a New ASIMO Designed to be a Hero

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( — October 8, 2015) — After being questioned during Fukushima disaster why Honda didn’t send its famous robot to search and help, Honda responded by launching a new ASIMO designed for search and rescue missions, IEEE Spectrum robotic blog reported.

At the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in October 2015, Honda presented their work on disaster-response humanoid robots, IEEE blog reported.

Though it is based on the original model, a new ASIMO is more human looking that its predecessor. A robot that operates with this level of performances requires a lot of energy, but the new search and rescue robot is not connected to external power. The large white box strapped on his back appears to be the battery container.

One of the hardest robotic challenges in DARPA trials is climbing the stairs, especially at the end were they narrow and the angle increases. Reportedly, Honda skipped all that challenges and designed new ASIMO to climb up and down a ladder, which represents a new milestone in robotic.

New ASIMO can walk, however, if it is necessary, it can transition from biped to quadruped without maintaining a static center of gravity. This makes it very quick, able to autonomously go from standing to all fours in about 2 seconds. To do that, it relies on neat trick: it spins a pair of flywheels in the torso.

The Honda’s researchers use walking algorithm to keep ASIMO upright. The same but extended algorithm is used for new ASIMO so he can shift drive and stay in balance. The researchers are hoping to develop software that would allow the robot to make autonomous decisions and choose the right way to pass an obstacle.

IEEE blog author concludes that we were lucky to know this much about a new ASIMO robot because Japanese are good in keeping this kind of information a secret. However, giving that Honda decided to reveal this much, we can expect that sporadically the update on development of the new ASIMO.