December 15, 2006 The world of personal robotics is drawing closer, with some estimates of the personal robotics industry putting it abreast with the world automotive industry two decades from now. Honda has already established itself as the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer and has branched into a dozen different recreational and business markets as diverse as jet aeroplanes, jet skis, and industrial engines. Its biggest market may be yet to come, because it has been working diligently for 20 years in the development of a bipedal humanoid service robot named Asimo and if it works half as well as the rest of the company's products, it'll be one of the pioneers into the home when robotic servants reach mass commercialisation. Asimo is already a well known brand but when Honda begins airing 90 second commercials in the UK later this week, where Asimo becomes the ideal fully-owned, never-makes-a-mistake brand spokesperson, we figure history is being made. Asimo embodies the Honda attitude towards technology – warm, approachable, human, optimistic and always moving forward – as the Honda spokesperson, he will become the first publicly known robot on a global scale, and he’ll evolve publicly across all languages. Honda's new warmtechnology web site goes live today, and there are also five short films available at www.honda.co.uk. The series of webcasts introduce Asimo, and show how its warm approach has brought science and technology to a broad audience across the world.
The ad depicts Asimo in a museum setting, engaging with a range of exhibits and everyday objects to demonstrate the robot’s human qualities and advanced technology. It closes with the thought: ‘More forwards please’ – which represents Honda’s continual push for technological innovation.
Head of Marketing at Honda (UK), Jeff Dodds, said: “We’re always looking to develop technology that is approachable and warm, and by that I mean innovations people can appreciate, engage with and relate to. ASIMO is a serious research project for Honda, but it also has the ability to put smiles on people’s faces and so embodies perfectly our ‘warm technology’ approach.”
Outdoor mega sites and large posters featuring Asimo will complement the TV campaign, showing the progression of Honda’s 20 year robot programme from the first pair of legs with a computer attached, to today's humanoid Asimo.
Before the campaign breaks, five short films will be broadcast daily from www.honda.co.uk. The series of webcasts introduce Asimo, and show how its warm approach has brought science and technology to a broad audience across the world.
From 15 December, a new website www.warmtechnology.co.uk goes live, which will feature a gallery space dedicated to Honda’s ‘more forwards please’ advancements. As well as Asimo, the FCX hydrogen fuel cell car, new HondaJet plane and CR-V are presented as examples of Honda’s approach to alternative technology.
Honda’s robot project began in 1986 when a team of engineers received funding to work on a machine that could walk like a human. The first incarnations were little more than computers on awkward mechanical legs but 20 years later, ASIMO is capable of running at a speed of 6km/hour, which means momentarily having both feet off the floor, an incredibly difficult engineering accomplishment.
It also features the ability to perform tasks in a real-life environment for example walking hand-in-hand with a person and carrying objects using a trolley or cart and can recognise moving objects, posture, environment, sounds and faces. The team is now working on the next challenge – introducing brain-like intelligence.
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