Honda Developing Disaster Response Robot Based on ASIMO

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Following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, Honda reportedly received numerous requests to send its humanoid robot ASIMO to help with the recovery. ASIMO, however, wasn't designed to work outside a lab or office environment, let alone a highly radioactive rubble-strewn zone. Now it looks like Honda is working to address the problem by developing a bigger, beefed-up version of ASIMO that can walk, crawl, and perform tasks in a disaster environment. After the Fukushima accident, many observers were surprised that Japan, a country known for its advanced robots, wasn't better prepared and had to rely on U.S. robots instead. In the months that followed, Japanese government agencies and companies got to work to develop capable disaster-response robots.