17 years after ASIMO first came into our lives, we get new robot concepts from Honda

Ever since Honda unveiled ASIMO back in 2002, we’ve looked to the Japanese automaker to come up with new robot concepts. It took some time, but Honda’s finally granted our wishes with not one, not two, not three, but four different robot concepts. The unveiling is scheduled to take place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next January. Of the four concepts, one is a companion robot, while another is an autonomous off-road concept. The other two are described as “mobility” concepts to help move people and things about.

In Honda’s case, it believes that the future of robotics will be determined by they evolve in their capacity for human interaction

I was 16 years old when I first saw ASIMO. At that time, I didn’t think robotics would be a real thing. Seventeen years later, it’s something that you expect. Still, I’m excited about Honda’s four new robot concepts. It’s not so much about the novelty of these robots anymore as it is the potential for what they could become in the future.

Take bot 3E-A18 as an example. He’s the one with the smiling face, and part of his ability is to show “compassion to humans with a variety of facial expressions.” It’s still early to judge what emotional capacity he has, but he does make for a good companion. Then there’s 3E-C18, the other concept that sports a pair of eyes and has a variety of functions, including as a self-driving cooler like how he was presented at the Tokyo Motor Show.

All together, these robot concepts aren’t being developed for show. In Honda’s case, it believes that the future of robotics will be determined by they evolve in their capacity for human interaction, specifically in ways that can help people carry out their tasks. The purpose of these robots is not too different from how Rosie the Robot Maid was portrayed in The Jetsons. The only difference is that we’re now seeing these robots come to life in the real world. More importantly, companies like Honda are showing us that there’s a lot more to these concepts than what our perceptions of them are. These robots have the potential to be more than just maids, butlers, or even companions. If developed properly, they could help re-shape our world.

Then again, Honda’s quarter of CES-bound robot concepts are just that. They’re concepts. There’s no word yet on whether Honda has bigger plans for them beyond the CES show, but the mere fact that they’re around means that we’re close than ever to seeing robotics technology come to life.


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