Think of them as backpacks you don't wear, handcarts you don't pull or cargo bikes you don't ride – autonomous utility carts, like the Gita, promise to do hard work as modern-day mules programmed to shoulder your load. Honda takes the autonomous cargo hauler idea a step further with the RoboCas concept. One of the more interesting small transport concepts of the Tokyo Motor Show, this lovable robot companion carries your cargo (or you) around tight city spaces and even transforms into a pop-up lemonade stand or cafe when you arrive.
Honda has its hands full in Tokyo this year, showing concept cars, a variety of motorcycles and scooters, a few urban mobility concepts and more. The RoboCas fits in the urban mobility category, though it's really more of a combination robot/mobility aid. Honda says it can carry people, but it appears most useful for hauling cargo, which it holds in a rearrangeable compartment.
The RoboCas uses autonomous mobility technology to follow its owner, working much like the Gita. And not only will it follow you and haul all your stuff, it'll do so in a "unique, cute way, bringing happiness and joy to everyone." So, yay.
Unlike the Gita, which really has nothing to do but roll itself into a closet or corner when you arrive at your destination, the RoboCas can continue helping out. Its lid pops up and serves as a canopy, turning this little robo-trailer into pop-up coffee shop, cafe or store. We can't imagine basing an entire business around it, but it does look quite useful for events like flea markets, craft fairs and parking lot fundraisers – assuming the wares you're selling fit inside.
And if you decide not to use it as a mobile shop, the RoboCas also works as a companion, doing tricks and playing music. It can roll around and do the work of a butler, too, serving drinks and snacks to the crowd.
A city of people walking around with little cargo orbs or cubes following their every step seems a bit strange to imagine, but we don't mind the idea of never having to carry an awkward load of groceries for blocks on end.
The RoboCas is just a concept for now, and without even a hint of hard specs, it feels more like a loose vision of the future than a realistic product proposal. So don't quit your day job for the green pastures of robo hot dog slinging just yet.