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Honda’s new humanoid-robot push aims for practical use

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TOKYO, Nov 28 (Nikkei) –
A decade from now, a man suddenly collapses on the street. An ambulance is called but will take time to arrive. In the meantime, a robot stationed nearby rushes to the scene to provide emergency care, controlled by an expert operator sitting dozens of kilometers away.

This is Honda Motor’s vision for its humanoid “avatar robot,” a project intended to “expand the range of human ability virtually without the constraints of time and place.”

With a headset and gloves, the operator would be able to essentially see, hear and feel objects through the robot. This would let specialists respond to emergencies or work in disaster zones without needing to be physically present, or fix equipment remotely. The automaker aims to launch a technology demo in fiscal 2023, with an eye toward practical use in the 2030s.

The project represents a new direction for the creator of the trailblazing Asimo bipedal robot, with greater emphasis on useful features as more competition enters the picture. Tesla unveiled a prototype humanoid robot of its own in September, just a year after announcing the project, and aims to put it on the market in three to five years.
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