There are plenty of very sensible reasons to go to the Tokyo Motor Show, but far more interesting are the oddball products from the weirder corners of Japanese engineers’ imaginations. One such example is this, the Honda RoboCas Concept. Effectively an oversized cooler on wheels, complete with anime-esque eyes and autonomous driving, it’s what Honda says could be the robot assistant of tomorrow.
Note, that’s could, anyway. As Honda describes it, RoboCas is “a small-sized electric mobility product created to make people’s dreams and ideas come true.” That’s assuming your dreams and ideas involve self-driving luggage on wheels, of course.
Honda envisages the body as being customizable and modular, allowing for different types of carrying space. Above it, there’s a height-adjustable canopy. They’re all mounted on a compact body base, which presumably uses electric power.
Although at first glance it seems a little odd, the potential for RoboCas is actually fairly broad. In one potential use-case, Honda shows the robot acting as a portable cafe: with the canopy extended it becomes the roof of the coffee stop, and all of the cups, stock, and other essentials can be safely stowed away in the body of the ‘bot.
There’s also the suggestion that RoboCas could act as a portable power supply. In another potential application, Honda shows it acting as the power source for a busker, with amps running off the concept’s batteries.
Indeed, while the cutesy eyes may leave the RoboCas Concept looking more like a Wall-E character, the core idea of a flexible electrified transportation system isn’t a bad one. We’ve already seen Starship’s robot couriers begin public trials in the US earlier in the year, with the self-driving delivery ‘bots used to take orders through the “final mile”. RoboCas is a little larger, but certainly looks a lot friendlier.
“With our products equipped with electrification technologies, Honda will continue striving for the realization of our enduring passion to realize the joy of helping people and the joy of driving,” Takahiro Hachigo, President of Honda said at the Tokyo Motor Show today. “Honda will continue taking on challenges to expand the life’s potential of our customers.”
Production probably isn’t likely any time soon for the RoboCas Concept, sadly. Still, Honda has surprised us before now with taking concept ideas and commercializing them, so if there’s sufficient interest in this goofy robot cooler on wheels then we wouldn’t necessarily count it out.