The future arrives wrapped in cute packages

Honda has pulled the covers off of four robot concepts at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. Collective called the 3E Robotics Concepts, the small prototypes are more than just novelty items that Honda cooked up for our collective pleasures; they were created to give us a taste of what the future could look like with these robots by our sides to improve our daily lives in different ways. Three of these concepts are making their world debuts at CES. One of them, 3E-C18, made its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show last October.

Honda 3E Empower

The robot concepts represent three different ideologies that Honda subscribed to in creating them. The first of these ideologies is “Empower,” which focuses on a future where humans and robots can leverage each other’s strengths. It’s no wonder that Honda’s creation in this regard is 3E-D18, an autonomous off-road robot that uses artificial intelligence to help people accomplish a broad range of tasks, including as a helpful ally in agriculture, construction, and search and rescue operations. Functionally, 3E-D18 is based on a Honda ATV chassis so it’s as tough as it gets. It comes with four-wheel drive, has GPS and sensor-based autonomy, and has airless tires that allow it to smoothly run on rough road surfaces.

3E-D18 is joined by 3E-B18 under the Empower category. Unlike the rough and rugged 3E-D18, 3E-B18 looks like a futuristic version of the Segway. It does have more a functional side attached to it, including the ability to act as a stroller, a baggage cart, and as a personal ride. It even has a height-adjustable seating and is small enough to navigate tight spaces.

Honda 3E Experience

Falling under the “Experience” ideology is 3E-C18, the robotic concept that looks like a cooler with a face on it. Don’t be deceived by its looks, though, because 3E-C18 serves a variety of important functions, most notably as a mobile, AI-enabled platform that can help people from all walks of life. The concept also has the ability to learn through its AI platform and absorb what it learns to dictate how it operates autonomously. On the physical side, 3E-C18 also has carrying spaces and a canopy, not to mention a vehicle body base with a driving function in it.

3E Empathy

The last of the four concepts is arguably the most important one. It’s called 3E-A18, and it’s a robot concept that actually carries emotions with it. There’s a reason why it was classified under the “Empathy” ideology. Like the other concepts, 3E-A18 comes with AI application. Unlike the other concepts, 3E-A18 was developed specifically to be a personal companion. It has the ability to provide support for human activities, act as a guide in places like malls and airports, and communicate with people in certain situations. Physically, 3E-A18 is designed with a soft exterior skin to complement its range of facial expressions.

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