Meet the Honda helicopter … and the robot, the moon base and the rocket

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  • Honda is working on eVTOL electric and hybrid helicopters, designed with passengers seated in a pod suspended under eight propellers. With pure electricity, the Honda hopper can travel 100 miles.
  • The company is also continuing the development of its humanoid robot, more than 20 years after the beginnings of ASIMO.
  • Honda says it also plans to design rockets and explore the technologies needed to establish bases on the moon.

    Honda, which already manufactures very nice jets, but also cars, motorcycles and trimmer, is entering the helicopter sector. But not just any helicopter, an electric helicopter.

    “Honda’s eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft will make mobility in the skies more accessible to people,” Honda said in a presentation yesterday.

    The eVTOL helicopter uses eight relatively small rotating propeller blades to lift it, then two propellers and a wing structure to fly forward. The passengers are seated in a fairly long basket suspended by the structure on which the eight propellers are mounted. Power comes from a hybrid-electric setup in which a turbine engine keeps the batteries charged. With pure electricity, the Honda hopper can travel 100 miles, with the turbine running, it can fly up to 400 miles.

    A Honda eVTOL model undergoing wind tunnel testing en route to a city near you.

    Honda

    “The adoption of the hybrid powertrain allows the extension of range, which will allow Honda eVTOL to provide intercity (city-to-city) transportation, where the market size is expected to grow in the future,” Honda said. . “Honda will create a new ‘mobility ecosystem’ with Honda eVTOL at its heart, connected to mobility products in the field.”

    The ground mobility products appeared to be self-contained transport modules on wheels, although little was said about this. One video showed a guy from Cape Cod having a meeting in New York, so he calls a Honda mobility product at his door, he takes it to the Cape Cod airport, where he boards his Honda plane. eVTOL for the short trip to town. The guy is back in Cape Town in time for dinner.

    Isn’t life great?

    Honda launches initiatives in new areas, tackles challenges in new areas while leveraging its core technologies
    Another view of the Honda eVTOL.

    Honda

    And lest you start pretending that these gears will be “too @ # $% ^ & * noisy,” Honda claims that with smaller diameter rotors that have lower propeller speeds at the ends, that noise won’t. will not be that bad. What about security?

    “In addition to the clean operation achieved by electrification technologies, eVTOL offers safety at a level equivalent to that of commercial passenger aircraft thanks to its simple structure and decentralized propulsion system and its silence due to the relatively small diameter of the rotors. This allows eVTOL to take off and land in the middle of a city without causing noise issues. Due to these characteristics, the race to develop eVTOL aircraft is becoming more and more vigorous. However, all-electric eVTOL aircraft face a range issue due to the limited battery capacity. Therefore, the realistic use area is limited to intra-urban transport (within a city).

    Honda launches initiatives in new areas, tackles challenges in new areas while leveraging its core technologies
    Honda Avatar Robot.

    Honda

    Then the robots will come.

    “Striving to expand human potential and make people’s lives unrestrained and more enjoyable, Honda has continuously worked on robotics research, including research and development of its ASIMO bi-pedal robot,” said said Honda. “As part of next-generation Honda robotics, Honda continues to develop practical applications of Honda’s original avatar robot to expand the range of human capabilities with virtually no time and place constraints. “

    And then they strangle you in your sleep. Haha just kidding. They would never do that. (Or would they do it ???)

    Japanese diplomacy
    Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and an earlier version of Asimo.

    YOSHIKAZU TSUNOGetty Images

    Called the Honda Avatar Robot, the Avatar in the name means that the robot can be somewhere else and you can control it from your home or office. Or even from your Honda helicopter. Right now, research robots are working on opening a can of Coca-Cola and unscrewing the lid of a jar, but the future uses are limitless. An app is a medical presence on the scene to provide assistance to victims of a heart attack or others in need of a doctor. The healthcare professional could go online and then examine the patient through the avatar robot. Imagine the day a real Honda engineer could diagnose your K20 timing issue!

    After that, Honda begins to look more and more like a Bond villain, as the plan is to have Honda-powered moon bases, with Honda fuel cells converting power and Honda robots performing tasks.

    “As the international momentum to expand the range of human activities outside of Earth continues to grow, Honda has launched initiatives to strive for the expansion of human activities and development on the lunar surface,” Honda said. “It is said that there is water on the Moon, and various possibilities for using water may open up attracting attention. Honda is conducting joint research with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with the aim of building the renewable energy system circulating on the lunar surface by taking advantage of fuel cell technologies and electrolysis technologies from the high differential pressure water that Honda has accumulated to this day.

    moon base honda
    Some of the Honda systems that would work on a Honda Moonbase.

    Honda

    And outside of this Honda-powered moon base? Lunar robots!

    “Remote-controlled robots on the lunar surface, which can minimize the risks to which astronauts will be exposed and allow people to virtually enjoy the experience of being on the moon from Earth, Honda expects to apply a number of its core technologies. This includes multi-finger robotic hand technology and AI-supported remote control technology under development for the Honda Avatar robot and highly responsive torque control technology for mitigation. collisions.

    Honda launches initiatives in new areas, tackles challenges in new areas while leveraging its core technologies
    Honda moonbot on the moon.

    Honda

    To go to the moon, and probably back, Honda is working on reusable rockets. There is market demand, Honda said.

    “Currently, there are not enough rockets available to meet the demand for satellite launches,” Honda said. “To solve this problem, Honda is developing a small rocket to use as a launch vehicle for small satellites in low earth orbit. Additionally, Honda is researching the idea of ​​making its rocket “reusable” by allowing at least some of the rocket’s components to land on earth after launch. For this challenge, Honda will strive to use the control and guidance technologies that Honda has accumulated through the development of automated driving technologies.

    Why not just take all that R&D money and make cheaper CR-Vs?

    “All of the initiatives we have introduced today are about the challenges Honda is taking on in new areas, but Honda’s underlying passion to use our technology to make people’s lives more enjoyable remains unchanged,” said Keiji. Ohtsu, president and representative director of Honda R&D. Co., Ltd. “Since the founding of the company, the source of Honda’s challenges has always been the people at Honda who generate innovative technologies and ideas. Through the creation of new mobility, Honda will continue to strive to change the value people place on mobility and to effect positive change in our society. ”

    Helicopters, robots, moon bases and rockets– share your thoughts on Honda’s ambitious plans to develop such a range of technologies in the comments below.

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