Honda Ends Development of ASIMO Robot

ASIMO's underlying technology will still live on in semi-autonomous vehicles.

Honda Motor's new Asimo humanoid robot
NurPhoto via Getty Images

As the Nikkei Asian Review reports, Honda is officially closing the book on its ASIMO robotics program after 18 years of steady development.

In 1986, Honda first set out to build a bi-pedal robot that could walk under its own power. It wasn't until 2000 that the company finally revealed the Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, or ASIMO, to the world. This child-sized automaton could perform complex tasks like picking up small objects, climbing stairs, recognizing vocal commands, and navigating new environments on-the-fly, as demonstrated in this video by Honda.

The final iteration of ASIMO, created in 2011, gave the robot more advanced movement capabilities and added sensors all over its body that would allow ASIMO to more accurately interact with its environment. This final version was able to jump, stand on one leg, and run over five miles per hour. While the bot only became more advanced over time, it never reached commercial viability, so Honda has decided to cease development.

Don't think that all that technology is going to waste, however. In 2017, Honda re-purposed ASIMO's balancing tech to create a motorcycle that could hold itself upright. The company also plans to use mechanisms from the robot's legs to build a mechanical exoskeleton that can assist physical therapy patients in walking. Then there's the matter of ASIMO's numerous sensors. It's ability to track its surroundings could prove to be most valuable in the development of semi-autonomous vehicles. Honda's also found a more novel use of the tech in its Miimo robotic lawn mower.

Were you amazed by ASIMO's demonstrations back in the day? Are you sad to see the little bot go, or do you think it was just an expensive toy? Let us know below.