It has been over two years since Honda ended the development of ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) – a humanoid robot that has brought smiles to the world for 18 years.
This year, however, Honda introduces ASIMO's unofficial offspring. Meet Ropot – a robot that integrates the Japanese marque's blind spot technology to makes roads safer for kids. It's like a guardian angel for kids who walk alone to and from school, acting as a second pair of ears and eyes.
Gallery: Honda Ropot
In case you're not aware, Japan is a safe haven for pedestrians, even for kids as young as seven years old. These kids are encouraged to walk on their own during their first grade in elementary school. Honda's Ropot aims to make these walks safer. It's a palm-sized robot that can be attached to the bag's strap, with a technology that's currently under research and development.
How does Ropot work? On the first day of school, a guardian needs to walk his or her kid to school so the child will be familiar with the route. This is also where Ropot can "learn" the route with the help of the guardian. In crosswalks, Ropot will remind children that they have to look left and right before crossing through audible and tactile warnings.
Apart from that, Ropot can also detect oncoming vehicles from behind and warns the kid of the hazard – the same way the blind spot detection system of your car works. It also has a tracker, which prompts the parents or guardian when the child has already reached the set destination.
There's a good reason for the development of Ropot. According to Honda's research, traffic accident casualties are more damaging to seven-year-olds. The company also thinks that children of this age have two-thirds of the field of vision of adults, which makes walking a considerably dangerous plight.
Honda has yet to announce the exact timeline for Ropot's commercial release, but a recent in-field study has already been conducted to gather feedback from actual use.