Robot teamwork demonstrated by Honda

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Teams of robots developed by Japanese industrial giant, Honda, can work together to complete tasks, following software and hardware upgrades, the company announced last week..

For example, if one robot is forced to leave a job unfinished because its battery is running low, another robot can take up the work where it left off, the company explained. A wireless network links the robots together.

The robots automatically plug themselves into recharging stations when they are running out of power. ASIMO has a rechargeable 51.8v lithium ion battery with a lifetime of only one hour between charges.

“In situations where more than one ASIMO works together, information regarding the current status of each ASIMO will be shared constantly among the multiple networked ASIMOs in order to share tasks in the most efficient manner,” the company announced in a statement.

“More precisely, first, the distance between the current position of each ASIMO and the site where each task needs to be performed will be calculated. Then, taking remaining battery levels into consideration, the most time efficient way to share tasks among the multiple ASIMOs will be determined. Based on this decision, each ASIMO autonomously performs its assigned task.”

Honda is testing the upgraded ASIMO-series robots in the lobby of its headquarters in Tokyo, where they guide visitors and serve drinks and snacks. To cope with more crowded environments, the robots' ability to avoid bumping into or blocking people has also been enhanced. They are now better able to predict the path of walkers – the robots will defer to humans by stepping back out of the way and waiting if there is not enough space to pass. The 54kg robots walk at slightly less than 3 Km per hour, and run at 6 Km per hour.

The ASIMO robots are not commercially available and Honda has made no announcement on how it plans to bring the technology to market.

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