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In 1986, Honda commenced the humanoid robot research and development program. Keys to the development of the robot included "intelligence" and "mobility." Honda began with the basic concept that the robot "should coexist and cooperate with human beings, by doing what a person cannot do and by cultivating a new dimension in mobility to ultimately benefit society." This provided a guideline for dev eloping a new type of robot that would be used in daily life, rather than a robot purpose-built for special operations.

Around one year was spent exclusively on initially determining what the robot should be like in order to build the concept. The robot had to be capable of such functions as moving through furnished rooms and going up and down stairs since it was to be designed for home use. At the same time, the design team decided that the robot should employ two-foot/leg mobility technology to make it compatible with mo st types of terrain, including very rough surfaces. With these ideas in mind, Honda engineers began the development program, focusing on the "foot/leg-walking mobile function" that corresponds to the basics of human mobility. As you can probably imagine, there were a number of technical challenges to be cleared before creation of the robot was possible. Naturally, special attention was paid to how our own legs a d feet work. Thus, the first phase of our program was dedicated to the analysis of how a human uses legs and feet to walk.
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