Asimo has gone from "automatic machine" to being able to make its own decisions.
The latest video exhibits some of its latest features and innovations, mainly being able to detect other objects, walking on uneven surfaces and the ability to generate its own autonomous behavior.
It are these capabilities that are moving Asimo towards co-existing with humans in a practical environment.
Asimo is the brainchild of Honda's Advanced Steps In Innovative Mobility, which began in 1986. The mission's focus is on engendering education the sciences and robotics, but has the long term ambition of developing a practical use in an environment coexisting with people
Given the recent geopolitical strife occurring amongst some nations going nuclear, Asimo could be adopting a more prominent role as a first responder in a nuclear disaster.
"During the first 24 hours (of the nuclear disaster) there were things that should have been done but were not done because it was too dangerous for people to do them."
There might not be a better example than at the recent nuclear disaster in Fukushima, according to this account.
The workers in charge of the venting operation took iodine tablets. It was a feeble attempt at protection against the radiation they'd soon encounter, but it was better than nothing. They gathered protective head-to-toe suits and face masks connected to air tanks. At 3:45 a.m., the vent crew tried to measure the radiation dose inside the reactor building, which had been off limits for 6 hours. Armed with handheld dosimeters, they opened the air lock, only to find a malevolent white cloud of some "gaseous substance" billowing toward them. Fearing a radiation steam bath, they slammed the door shut. They didn't get their reading, but they had a good indication that things had already gone seriously wrong inside the reactor.
Asimo isn’t without its share of criticism, primarily the lack of a long term focus and Honda's apparent desire to promote a short term “robotic hype machine.”