Robotics

Honda's 3E Robotics Concepts just want to help people

Honda's 3E Robotics Concepts j...
Honda's 3E Robotics Concepts have been revealed at CES 2018 in Las Vegas
Honda's 3E Robotics Concepts have been revealed at CES 2018 in Las Vegas
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Honda's 3E-B18 concept has been developed to help people get around with ease and in comfort
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Honda's 3E-B18 concept has been developed to help people get around with ease and in comfort
The 3E-B18 concept can take a variety of attachments for situations like carrying heavy baggage around an airport to taking a stroll into town
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The 3E-B18 concept can take a variety of attachments for situations like carrying heavy baggage around an airport to taking a stroll into town
Close up of the 3E-B18 top rear, showing control arm attachment and rear lighting
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Close up of the 3E-B18 top rear, showing control arm attachment and rear lighting
The 3E-B18 has an arm to one side that ends in a control wheel and touch buttons
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The 3E-B18 has an arm to one side that ends in a control wheel and touch buttons
Honda's 3E-B18 concept has been developed to help people get around with ease and in comfort
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Honda's 3E-B18 concept has been developed to help people get around with ease and in comfort
The 3E-C18 is a boxy electric cargo carrier with room on the back for a human passenger
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The 3E-C18 is a boxy electric cargo carrier with room on the back for a human passenger
The 3E-C18 features a tablet-like user interface to the rear, but it can also operate autonomously
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The 3E-C18 features a tablet-like user interface to the rear, but it can also operate autonomously
Honda's 3E-C18 concept's upper surface rises to form a canopy, with various add-ons able to be attached for commercial and personal use
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Honda's 3E-C18 concept's upper surface rises to form a canopy, with various add-ons able to be attached for commercial and personal use
The 3E-C18 electric three-wheeler's AI brains are intended to learn from its user
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The 3E-C18 electric three-wheeler's AI brains are intended to learn from its user
Honda's 3E-A18 concept is a support robot designed to "achieve a mutual empathy with people while providing support for human activities"
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Honda's 3E-A18 concept is a support robot designed to "achieve a mutual empathy with people while providing support for human activities"
The 3E-A18 has a number of facial expressions at its disposal, to help it communicate with the people it encounters
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The 3E-A18 has a number of facial expressions at its disposal, to help it communicate with the people it encounters
The 3E-A18 concept has a soft-touch exterior to encourage physical interaction
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The 3E-A18 concept has a soft-touch exterior to encourage physical interaction
Honda's 3E-A18 rolls on an omni-directional wheel supported a stabilizer to the rear
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Honda's 3E-A18 rolls on an omni-directional wheel supported a stabilizer to the rear
Designed to support a human workforce, the 3E-D18 is based on Honda's ATV chassis
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Designed to support a human workforce, the 3E-D18 is based on Honda's ATV chassis
The 3E-D18 concept comes with a number of work-related attachments, including a multi-purpose tool rail, a digger arm or fruit/vegetable picker, and full robotics package that can be mounted to the top of the vehicle
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The 3E-D18 concept comes with a number of work-related attachments, including a multi-purpose tool rail, a digger arm or fruit/vegetable picker, and full robotics package that can be mounted to the top of the vehicle
The developers see the highly maneuverable 3E-D18 as increasing efficiency in search and rescue tasks, or fire fighting, construction and agriculture
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The developers see the highly maneuverable 3E-D18 as increasing efficiency in search and rescue tasks, or fire fighting, construction and agriculture
Honda has revealed a battery pack exchange concept that it envisions being located on city street corners, allowing folks to leave a spent pack in situ and pull out a fully charged unit while also serving to stabilize the power grid during peak demand hours
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Honda has revealed a battery pack exchange concept that it envisions being located on city street corners, allowing folks to leave a spent pack in situ and pull out a fully charged unit while also serving to stabilize the power grid during peak demand hours
Honda's Mobile Power Pack hot-swap battery concept could be used as an emergency power source during a power out when combined with its wheeled Charge & Supply concept
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Honda's Mobile Power Pack hot-swap battery concept could be used as an emergency power source during a power out when combined with its wheeled Charge & Supply concept
Honda's 3E Robotics Concepts have been revealed at CES 2018 in Las Vegas
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Honda's 3E Robotics Concepts have been revealed at CES 2018 in Las Vegas

Honda has made good on last month's promise and has taken its 3E Robotics Concepts to CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Designed to assist people with all manner of tasks in the future, the experimental robots are being developed through an "open invitation" approach, where other companies are invited to collaborate on the 3E project to build "multiple devices that work together as a system, enabling people to expand their life's potential."

Honda's 3E vision stands for "Empower, Experience, Empathy," and its CES concepts are designed to showcase how the company sees future systems not only helping people better cope with whatever life throws at them, but also learning from their interactions with people to improve their usefulness and become more empathetic. And the company is looking to have industry partners get involved in that vision by helping to create collaborative systems, rather than proprietary stand-alone bots.

Leading the Empower part of the equation is an autonomous off-roader designed by Honda R&D Americas and dubbed 3E-D18. It's not been developed as a sporty leisure vehicle, but to assist the workforce and comes with a number of work-related attachments, including a multi-purpose tool rail, a digger arm or fruit/vegetable picker, and full robotics package that can be mounted to the top of the vehicle.

The 3E-D18 concept comes with a number of work-related attachments, including a multi-purpose tool rail, a digger arm or fruit/vegetable picker, and full robotics package that can be mounted to the top of the vehicle
The 3E-D18 concept comes with a number of work-related attachments, including a multi-purpose tool rail, a digger arm or fruit/vegetable picker, and full robotics package that can be mounted to the top of the vehicle

The concept robotic vehicle is based on Honda's ATV chassis, but features a four-wheel-drive electric drivetrain powering "virtually indestructible" airless tires. It gets its juice from Honda's Mobile Power Pack, batteries that can be charged in the vehicle or swapped out and charged in a central location.

The developers see the highly maneuverable 3E-D18 as increasing efficiency in search and rescue tasks, or fire fighting, construction and agriculture, helping to keep human exposure to dangerous environments to a minimum. It could also take over mundane or time-consuming tasks, and go on working long after the human workforce has clocked off for the day.

The self-driving vehicle navigates using GPS and vehicle-mounted sensors and Honda imagines it being deployed by operators wearing a smartwatch or using a smartphone/tablet. The video below outlines the potential use scenarios of the D18.

Honda Unveils 3E-D18 Robotic Workhorse at CES 2018

The 3E-B18 concept could also find uses in industry, but has been developed to help people get around with ease and in comfort. A robotic wheelchair of sorts, the platform also takes a variety of attachments for situations like carrying heavy baggage around an airport or taking a stroll (roll?) into town. It could also be fitted with AI sensors for autonomous operation.

Honda's 3E-B18 concept has been developed to help people get around with ease and in comfort
Honda's 3E-B18 concept has been developed to help people get around with ease and in comfort

This electric concept has a height-adjustable seat that's designed to stay on the level, even if the mobility roller is going up (or down) an incline, and an arm to one side that ends in a control wheel and touch buttons. Honda says that a small turning radius and slim dimensions give it the power to move around in tight spaces, though no figures have been released. And as with the self-driving ATV, the B18 uses the company's Mobile Power Pack.

Honda Exhibits 3E-B18 Robotic Device at CES 2018

Honda's 3E-C18 represents the Experience part of its vision, demonstrating a system intended to grow with its user. We first encountered this boxy electric cargo concept at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, where it transported, or auto-followed, booth reps around.

The upper surface of the C18 rises from the body to form a canopy, to be used by street vendors selling their wares perhaps, or maybe a mobile hobby shop. And it has a large display to the front, which can be seen showing numerous expressions in the video below, and its AI brains are intended to learn from its user.

The 3E-C18 electric three-wheeler's AI brains are intended to learn from its user
The 3E-C18 electric three-wheeler's AI brains are intended to learn from its user

The electric three-wheeler features a tablet-like user interface to the rear, but it can also operate autonomously. And, yes you guessed it, Honda's Mobile Power Pack makes another appearance here.

Honda Demonstrates 3E-C18 Robotic Device at CES 2018

The final "E" in Honda's vision stands for Empathy, and comes to life in the form of a giant wheeled lightbulb called the 3E-A18. This service robot has been treated to some AI technology to, as Honda puts it, "achieve a mutual empathy with people while providing support for human activities."

The 3E-A18 concept has a soft-touch exterior to encourage physical interaction
The 3E-A18 concept has a soft-touch exterior to encourage physical interaction

The concept moves around using a single omni-directional wheel supported by a stabilizer out back, and is programmed with a range of facial expressions to help it communicate with whomever it encounters, while also sporting an inviting soft-touch exterior designed to encourage physical interaction.

It's been designed to understand the needs of people and offer information and help accordingly, making it a good fit for a job as a museum guide, hotel receptionist, shopping assistant or airport customer service droid.

Honda Debuts 3E-A18 Robotic Device at CES 2018

We've already mentioned Honda's hot-swap battery packs earlier, but the company sees its Mobile Power Packs as being much more than just user replaceable power units. The concept is being presented as a way of storing renewable energy produced during periods of low energy demand, while also making that energy available to its army of assistive robots, and more.

Honda reckons each hot-swappable Power Pack will be a 1 kWh unit, meaning it could also find use powering electric motorcycles and scooters or as an emergency power source during a power out when combined with its wheeled Charge & Supply concept.

Honda has revealed a battery pack exchange concept that it envisions being located on city street corners, allowing folks to leave a spent pack in situ and pull out a fully charged unit while also serving to stabilize the power grid during peak demand hours
Honda has revealed a battery pack exchange concept that it envisions being located on city street corners, allowing folks to leave a spent pack in situ and pull out a fully charged unit while also serving to stabilize the power grid during peak demand hours

The company is also showcasing a battery pack exchange concept at CES, which it envisions being located on city street corners, allowing folks to leave a spent pack in situ and pull out a fully charged unit while also serving to stabilize the power grid during peak demand hours.

Visitors to CES in Las Vegas can experience all of these concepts for themselves until the Convention Center closes its doors on January 12.

Source: Honda

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