Meet the Honda Helicopter...and Robot, Moon Base, and Rocket Ship

Image credit: Honda
Honda is working on eVTOL electric and hybrid helicopters in which passengers sit in a capsule suspended from eight propellers. The Honda Hopper can travel 100 miles on pure electricity.
The company is also continuing to develop its humanoid robot over 20 years after ASIMO debuted.
Honda says it is also studying rocket development and research into the technologies needed to establish bases on the moon.
Honda, which already makes some very nice jets in addition to cars, motorcycles and trimmers, enters the helicopter business. But not just any helicopter, an electric helicopter.
"Honda eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) planes will make sky mobility more accessible to people," Honda said in a presentation yesterday.
The eVTOL chopper uses eight relatively small, spinning propeller blades to lift it up, then two pusher propellers and a wing structure to fly forward. The passengers sit in an elongated capsule that is suspended from the structure on which the eight propellers are mounted. The power comes from a hybrid-electric setup where a turbine engine keeps the batteries charged. The Honda Hopper can travel 100 miles on pure electricity, and 400 miles on the turbine.
Image credit: Honda
"The introduction of hybrid powertrain enables the range to be expanded, allowing Honda eVTOL to offer city-to-city transport, where market size is expected to grow in the future," said Honda. "Honda will create a new 'Mobility Ecosystem' with Honda eVTOL as the centerpiece, linked to on-site mobility products."
The mobility products on the ground appeared to be autonomous transport capsules on wheels, although not much was said about them. A video shows a guy on Cape Cod having a meeting in New York City, so he calls a Honda mobility product on his door and it takes him to Cape Cod Airport, where he gets into his Honda eVTOL for the short drive into town Plane is rising. The guy is back at the Cape in time for dinner.
Ain't life great
Image credit: Honda
And lest you claim that these devices are "too @ # $% ^ & * noisy", Honda claims that with smaller diameter rotors and lower propeller speeds at the tips, the noise is not as bad. And security?
“In addition to the clean operation, which is achieved through electrification technologies, eVTOL offers security at a level that corresponds to that of commercial passenger aircraft, which is achieved through its simple structure and the decentralized drive system and the smoothness due to the relatively small rotor diameter. This enables eVTOL to take off and land in the middle of the city without causing noise problems. Because of these characteristics, the development race for eVTOL aircraft is becoming increasingly fierce. With fully electric eVTOL aircraft, however, there is a range problem due to the limited battery capacity, so the realistic area of ​​application is limited to inner-city transport (within a city). "
Image credit: Honda
Then come the robots.
"In an effort to expand human potential and make people's lives unrestrained and more enjoyable, Honda has continuously worked on robotics research, including the research and development of its two-legged robot, ASIMO," said Honda. "As part of the next generation of Honda robotics, Honda is pursuing the development of the practical applications of Honda's original Avatar robot to expand the realm of human capabilities with virtually no time or location constraints."
And then they strangle you in your sleep. Haha was just kidding. They would never do that. (Or would they ???)
Credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO - Getty Images
Called Honda Avatar Robot, the avatar in the name means that the robot can be elsewhere and you can control it from your home or office. Or even from your Honda helicopter. Research robots are currently working to open a can of Coke and twist off the lid of a glass, but the future uses are limitless. One application is the medical presence on site to provide help to heart attack victims or others who need a doctor. The medical professional could go online and then examine the patient via the avatar robot. Imagine the day a real Honda engineer could diagnose the timing problem in your K20!
After that, Honda sounds more and more like a Bond villain as the plan is to have Honda-powered lunar bases, with Honda fuel cells converting electricity and Honda robots performing tasks.
"As the international momentum for expanding the range of human activity outside the Earth continues to increase, Honda began initiatives to expand human activity and development on the lunar surface," said Honda. “There is supposed to be water on the moon, and various ways of using water could open up, attracting attention. Honda is conducting joint research with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with the aim of building the circulating renewable energy system on the lunar surface using fuel cell and high differential pressure water electrolysis technologies that Honda has developed to date. "
Image credit: Honda
And outside of that Honda-powered lunar base? Moonbots!
“Remote controlled robots on the lunar surface that can minimize the risks astronauts face and enable people to virtually experience being on the moon from Earth. Honda expects to apply a number of its core technologies. These include the multi-finger robotic hand technology and AI-assisted remote control technology being developed for the Honda Avatar robot, as well as the highly reactive torque control technology for collision mitigation. "
Image credit: Honda
To get to the moon and presumably back, Honda is working on reusable missiles. There's a market demand, said Honda.
"There are currently not enough missiles available to meet the demand for satellite launches," said Honda. “To address this problem, Honda is developing a small rocket with the aim of using it as a launch vehicle for small satellites in near-earth orbit. In addition, Honda is researching on the assumption that its rocket can be made "reusable" by landing at least some of the rocket components back on earth after launch. Honda will strive to meet this challenge by leveraging control and guidance technologies that Honda has accumulated through the development of automated driving technologies. "
Why not just take all that research and development money and make cheaper CR-Vs?
"All of the initiatives we launched today are focused on the challenges Honda is facing in new areas, but Honda's fundamental passion for using our technology to make people's lives better remains unchanged," said Keiji Ohtsu, President and Vice Director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. “Since the company's inception, the Honda people have been the source of Honda's challenges, generating original technologies and ideas. By creating a new form of mobility, Honda will continue to strive to change the value people place on mobility and to bring about positive change in our society. "
Helicopters, robots, moon bases, and rocket ships - share your thoughts on Honda's ambitious plans to develop such a wide range of technologies in the comments below.

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