Honda’s Robot Development from E4 to ASIMO

Since 1991 to 1993 Honda researched focus on the completing the basic functions of two-legged walking and establishing technology for stable walking, they are E4, E5 and E6. The final robot in the series, E6, was the last of Honda’s robots with only legs and benefited from the integration of all the autonomous walking functions developed thus far into one self-contained system. Environment maps were installed at the stage to aid its navigation.

Since 1993, work began in developing a completely independent humanoid robot. And Honda announced the world’s first self-regulating, two legged humanoid robot called P2 (prototype 2) in December 1996. Its tall was 182 cm and weight 210kg.

The torso contained a computer, 32 motors, a battery, using wireless technique, a wireless radio and other necessary devices, all of which were built into the robot. In this early prototypes, walking down and up stairs, independent walking, trolley pushing and other simple operations were also achieved wirelessly, allowing the robot operate independently. These robots also benefited from the number sensors introduction, including gyros fiber optics, ground reaction force sensors, inclination sensors and four cameras.

P2’s degrees of freedom were as follows, arms, 14 (7X2); legs, 12 (6X2); hands, 4 (2X2); and cameras, 4 (2X2). While P2 was a major advance in Honda’s robotic research, there were still many areas that improvements needed, for example, P2 was far too heavy and large, and it had operational time of only 15 minutes. Improvements to the robots maintenance and reliability were required.

P2 led to the development of P3 (prototypes 3). The major difference between P3 and previous prototypes was its reduce size and weight, 160 cm tall and 130kg weight. It also replaced the existing motor with brushless DC motors to improve the reliability.

From P2 and P3 experience the research began on new technology for actual use. ASIMO represents the fruition of the pursuit and the latest biped robot. ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. ASIMO was conceived to function in actual human living environment in the near future.

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