Robots at your service

2007-12-12 11:15

Tokyo - As if the idea of having one robot to serve a person wasn't unusual enough, Honda says its robots are now ready to work in pairs - and they can even serve drinks.

At a demonstration held on Tuesday in Tokyo, the automaker showed off two of the child-sized Asimo robots serving tea and performing other tasks in co-ordination with one another.

The feat was made possible by developing a system to network the robots together, allowing them to share information about their location and the tasks each is charged with performing, Honda Motor Co said in a statement.

The Asimo also benefits now from improvements to its intelligence technology that help it to better navigate around people by predicting their movements, it said.

The Asimo, which looks like a real-life child in a white space suit, can also now automatically head off to the nearest charging station when its batteries fall below a certain level.

Honda has been working on robots since 1986. Honda's rival Toyota Motor Corp has been aggressively beefing up its own robotics team, showing off last week a robot that could play the violin. Other companies, including Hitachi Ltd, Fujitsu Ltd and NEC Corp, are also developing robots.

Asimo - which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility and is play on the Japanese word for "legs" - first became available for rental in 2000. It's considered one of the world's most advanced humanoids. Seen often at Honda and other events, it can walk, even jog, wave, avoid obstacles and carry on simple conversations.