Unveiled at CES, the 3E robotic fleet by Honda aims to be the helping hand people need in their everyday lives, homes and work environments. Called the 3E for Empower, Experience and Empathy, they are still in concept form but they do work although not perfectly.
First there's the 3E-D18, a rugged autonomous off-road vehicle that can have multiple uses such as farming, search and rescue and construction. It's based on Honda's ATV chassis, has all-wheel drive and uses airless tires. Atop, it features a rail system where you can install multiple sorts of equipment like toolboxes, GPS stations and much more. Wherever heavy work needs to be done, the 3E-D18 can take care of it.
Then there's the 3E-B18, a mobility robot quite similar to a wheelchair. It seems to be aimed at the disabled or elderly. The seating however is quite different. It maintains an upright position even when riding downhill or uphill thanks to its balancing sensors. Thanks to its relatively small footprint, it can maneuver in tight spaces and busy pedestrian areas. Using external attachments, you can turn it into a motorized stroller or luggage cart as well.
The 3E-A18 is not designed to help you carry things around; instead it interacts with you and your emotional and mental well-being. The robot could be used in airports and malls, helping people around with navigation and so on. It's also designed to look very cute. Thanks to it's egg-like head and soft skin, it's an open invitation for human physical contact like touching or hugging. The 3E-A18 can recognize emotions and respond correctively to them.
Despite serving quite a different purpose, the 3E-C18 is also a very cute robotic companion. This boxy little fellow is a little bit of a mule; he can transport everything and features a deployable canopy with a flat working surface. Thanks to incorporated AI, the robot can recognize and learn more about people and they way they behave. By using add-ons, the C18 can be fitted to multiple purposes and can be used for both personal and commercial use.
Being still in a conceptual phase and without a clear purpose, these cute robots pave the way for a home full of smart assistants that are able to autonomously move around and fulfill tasks of any nature. Honda still doesn't know exactly what to do we them but we don't care; they look cute as hell.