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JAP.rs.15.qxxs.Ten years and tens of millions of dollars in the making, the Honda P3 strides down its course at the car company's secret research facility on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan. The product of a costly decade-long effort, the Honda robotic project was only released from its shroud of corporate secrecy in 1996. In a carefully choreographed performance, P3 walks a line, opens a door, turns a corner, and, after a safety chain is attached, climbs a flight of stairs. Despite its mechanical sophistication, it can't respond to its environment. If people were to step in its way, the burly robot would knock them down without noticing them. Ultimately, of course, Honda researchers hope to change that. But, in what seems an attempt to hedge the company's bet, P3 senior engineer Masato Hirose is also working on sending the robot to places where it cannot possibly injure anyone. In the future, he hopes, the robot will be rocketed to distant planets, to remotely explore places human beings cannot yet visit. From the book Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species, page 34-35.
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