ASIMO and Humanoid Robot Research at Honda
One of the major characteristics of robot development at Honda is “knowing and learning from humans.” In 1986, Honda started a research on robot whose bipedal walking was modeled after humans.
In this chapter, capabilities of Honda humanoid robots such as mobility, task-performing, and communication are introduced, and technologies which realized the above capabilities are explained.
With walk stabilization control technology which includes ground reaction force control, model ZMP control, and foot landing position control, biped robots could stably walk on uneven or slanted floors. Gait generation technology, which limits slipping and spinning, made it possible to assure dynamic stability during running.
In terms of task performance, by fusion of physical capabilities with recognition of the external environment using sensors of various kinds, the robot completed several tasks such as handing over a tray, pushing a cart, and pouring a drink.
Voice and image recognition technologies and an abundance of physical expressions enabled robots to interact with people in a natural way.
In order to behave properly in a real-world environment that is constantly changing, autonomous behavior generation technology has been developed. A system architecture called the intelligence loop was devised for this technology. The robot demonstrated this autonomy in two field experiments in the science museum where the robot made autonomous explanation to the visitors.
As applications of the robotics technology created in the course of humanoid robot research, High-Access Survey Robot which was sent to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and new mobility devices are briefly described.
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