Honda Unveils Prototype of Humanoid Robot for Disaster Response

Robots can come in many different shapes and sizes. Moreover, they can be deployed for many different reasons, including offering relief to disaster-stricken areas. One surprising contender in this area is none other than Honda. Although the company only has a prototype right now, the machine looks pretty interesting.

Honda is Building Robots as Well

In a way, no one will be surprised to see Honda getting involved in the world of building robots. Although one would expect the company to build such tools as a way to automate their own manufacturing process, that is not necessarily the case right now. Instead, it recently showed off a prototype robot which can provide invaluable services in disaster-stricken areas. Although Honda has been working on this concept for some time now, it took the company a while to effectively turn their whitepaper into a working machine.

Back in 2015, the whitepaper associated with Honda’s robotic creation revolved around disaster response. That hasn’t changed in the slightest now that the prototype is presented to the world. Given the fact that human workers often struggle to reach specific areas when disasters take place, it is expected these robots will make a major impact in this regard. Several other companies are developing robots for this specific purpose as well.

However, the Honda robot is very different from its competitors. Rather than being unusual in shape like most other robots, we are talking about a humanoid-looking robot which can effectively perform human tasks. More specifically, it the machine could tackle three-dimensional movements like walking on stairs and vertical ladders, it would be capable of moving over pipes on the floor and passing through closed doors along corridors. In a way, it would be an advanced human which doesn’t require sleep, food, or rest.

While the robot has no official name, Honda refers to it as the E2-DR. That may not be the most appealing name per se, but development is still ongoing as we speak. Considering that this machine provides a mix of strength, nimbleness, and all-around capability, it could be a godsend when it comes to providing relief efforts in one way or another. Even if the robot were to lose power for whatever reason, the system would prevent catastrophic falls while moving in high places. It is evident Honda has put a lot of thought and effort into this robot.

According to the official specifications, the E2-DR is 1.68 meters high and weighs 85 kilograms. More importantly, it has a 90-minute operating time thanks to its 1,000 Wh battery. With its 33 degrees of freedom, it is far more versatile than the average human worker would ever be in such circumstances. Furthermore, the robot’s torso can rotate 180 degrees. The way this machine walks is particularly intriguing, to say the least, as it is not something we have seen in too many robots so far.

If we had to find one downside, it would be how the robot’s hands can only be used for basic gripping motions. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as Honda has announced it is working on some special tools to facilitate interaction with the world and disaster-stricken areas. E2-DR is also water resistant, dustproof, and can operate in extreme temperatures above or below the freezing point. It is a very interesting development and one that shows why we shouldn’t be fearful of the robotics sector as a whole whatsoever. While some bits may seem unsettling, this is not a humanoid robot we will see crossing streets anytime soon.