Honda's robotics research leads to more-stable vehicles.
The automaker has drawn from the superfast balancing system it uses to keep its experimental humanoid robots from toppling as they walk for use in a stability system on the new, 2013 Acura ILX compact sedan.
The ILX, loosely based on the Honda Civic, goes on sale May 22, starting at $26,795.
The "face" of Honda's humanoid robotics research is a human-acting robot Honda calls Asimo. Honda foresees a time when Asimo and its ilk will be used as
"companions" to people who'd otherwise need assisted living or live-in human helpers.
Asimo walks like a person, lifting its legs one at a time and bending at the knee, and has articulated arms and hands so it can, for example, open a jar of apple butter or a bottle of sports drink for someone whose grip or arm strength is limited.
First time you see Asimo demonstrated, you'll swear there's a person inside making it move like that. Asimo and other industrial robots show up now and then at robot exhibitions around the country; worth a visit.
The robotics-inspired vehicle stability, or anti-skid, system will, Acura says, ensure "more responsive handling under icy or slippery conditions. The concept for this additional algorithm is based on patented knowledge gained from humanoid robotics research and development work."
Stability systems work by comparing what the driver intends, based largely on the steering wheel position, with what the car's actually doing. If it's not pointed as it should be, stability systems lightly apply the brakes on individual wheels to pivot the car into proper line.
The robotics-derived system speeds up the ability of the software to judge what the driver intends, making the whole anti-skid system work faster.
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