Robot-lovers of the world, please mourn the passing of an icon. For ASIMO, Honda’s four-foot-tall trailblazer, is on its way out.
The Japanese conglomerate said Thursday that it was still developing bipedal robots, but they will no longer use the ASIMO name—an acronym for “Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.” It said the ASIMO technology would be diverted into other products.
According to Kyodo News, Honda’s future robots will be adapted to tasks such as nursing care. ASIMO, launched at the turn of the century, was more of a showcase robot, being used to greet people at events.
The ASIMO robot, which was the first to show human-like walking and balancing skills, was last upgraded in 2011 to enhance its autonomous decision-making capabilities.
Currently, the closest point of comparison to ASIMO is probably SoftBank’s Pepper, which acts as a greeter at malls, airports and banks.
Meanwhile, companies such as Boston Dynamics—which SoftBank bought from Google last year—are developing robots that can open doors, do backflips and carry heavy loads. The big applications there are most likely in the military and in factories.