ASIMO - towards an intelligent robot
The natural walking motion of ASIMO will form the centrepiece of the live demonstrations being given at the Science Museum. However, in addition to the major mechanical engineering advances, Honda’s ongoing research programme has focused on the initial development of intelligent behaviour in ASIMO.
Honda defines intelligence as "the ability to develop problem-solving strategies to achieve a specific objective by recognising and analysing, associating and combining, planning and deciding". Honda is the first to recognise that ASIMO is a long way from having these abilities but believes progress has been made.
In addition to the cognitive capabilities associated with its intelligent walking technology, versions of ASIMO currently being developed in Japan have a number of intelligence technology features. These include the ability to recognise people, objects and gestures, calculate distances and the direction of movement of several objects.
This visual information is registered, interpreted and translated into actions. This gives ASIMO a range of abilities from avoiding objects in its path to recognising that someone wants to shake its hand and reacting by offering a handshake.
To a certain extent ASIMO can also hear and speak. It can identify voices, distinguish between sounds and the spoken word and respond to certain instructions and exchange simple sentences and greetings with a person. Currently ASIMO can understand about 50 different calls and greetings as well as 30 different commands and can react to them accordingly.