It seems that Japanese automakers are not only competing in terms of vehicle models but are also rivals in the field of robotics. If Honda (producer of high quality Acura CL brake booster) has the ASIMO, Toyota has come up with a robot that can play the “Pomp and Circumstance” on the violin.
Toyota has introduced its musically inclined 5-foot-tall-all-white robot last Thursday. The robot’s mechanical fingers are precisely programmed to press the right strings while its other arm was used for bowing. The movements were perfectly coordinated allowing the robot to effortlessly play the violin.
This robot-playing-violin is not the first of its kind, Toyota has previously shown robots that can play the trumpets and roll around working as guides. According to Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe robotics will be an important part of the company in the coming years. Toyota will also create robots for used at hospitals, for its facilities and for other places where robotics may be applied. The automaker is also hoping to put what it calls as partner robots to real use by 2010.
Mr. Watanabe has told reporters at the Toyota showroom in Tokyo, “We want to create robots that are useful for people in everyday life.” He further stated that it is not that surprising for the company to venture into robotics since it’s a natural extension of the automaker’s robots used in manufacturing and in the development of auto-related technology such as the use of artificial intelligence for the sensors and pre-crash safety systems.
Toyota has also given a glimpse of what the future holds in terms of new technology like the wheelchair like “mobility robots” that are designed to offer “bed-to-bed” services to people especially the elderly and the sick. Actually the concept used for this technology was derived from cars that take people “door-to-door”.
If you are to compare Toyota with the other automakers that are involved in robotics as mentioned Honda with its ASIMO, Hitachi Ltd., Fujitsu Ltd., and NEC Corp.–Japan’s biggest seller of automobiles is a late bloomer. Just take Honda for instance which has started working on robots since 1986 believing that such technology would play an important role in delivering mobility in the future. Its ASIMO robot an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility or simply “legs” in Japanese was first offered in the year 2000 for rental. It is also one of the most advanced humanoids in the world considering the fact that it can do primary body function such as walk, jog, wave, evade obstacles, and can even carry on simple conversations.
The ASIMO also looks like a real-life child dressed in a white space-suit. This remarkable advancement made on the ASIMO is what Toyota would like to surpass and to achieve this goal the company is working with universities to speed up research and development on robotics.
In addition to robots, Toyota is still continuing its research on biofuels while Honda is expanding its other business such as its jet and motorcycle units.