Honda Motor Company on Thursday announced plans to increase research and development across three technological categories: space technology, robots and electric vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts (eVTOL), or flying cars.
The Tokyo-based company will invest their efforts in “outside-the-box research on technologies that will bring about new value for people by expanding the potential of mobility into the third dimension, then the fourth dimension, which defies the constraints of time and space, and ultimately into outer space,” according to a blog post.
In the space sector, Honda plans to create a rocket that will launch small satellites into low-Earth orbit, in an effort to provide higher connectivity among machines. Additionally, the company has partnered with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to construct a renewable energy system on the Moon that will utilize Honda’s fuel-cell technology to break down water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen and generate electricity.
Meanwhile, on the robotics front, Honda has plans to create human-controlled avatar robots equipped with multi-fingered hands and artificial intelligence. The company is working to advance its AI-supported remote control function to enable its sophisticated, multi-fingered hands to grab an object smoothly and handle various tools with precise levels of force. Honda’s avatar robots will start technology demonstrations by March 2024 and will begin practical use in the 2030s, according to the company.
On the topic of flying cars, Honda claims that current air taxi designs that rely entirely on battery power will not be able to travel far ranges required by future market demand, according to its research. The company will begin flight tests in 2023 for a hybrid flying shuttle that will combine a lithium battery with a gas turbine generator, before making a decision on whether to commit to producing a commercial air taxi service before 2025. If the company decides to pursue the project, Honda has plans to launch the service by 2030.
Elsewhere, Amazon has opened applications for its Ring drone camera that can fly around your house.
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