Apart from making cars, Honda has spent most of the last 30 years experimenting with humanoid robots.

Its latest incarnation of Asimo (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) that met Obama on his tour of Japan in April has now embarked on a tour of Europe, starting with today in Brussels.

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The new Asimo is slimmer and taller than previous models, and packed with new technological innovationsHonda
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Could you imagine yourself interacting with this robot?Honda

The new Asimo has some new technological advancements in autonomous behaviour technology, so the robot is able to maintain its posture as it walks by extending its legs.

Already considered to be the fastest humanoid robot in the world, Asimo has broken its own record and is now able to run at a speed of 9km/hr, as well as hopping on one leg, jumping more smoothly, climbing up and down stairs, and even walking backwards.

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The new Asimo robot is able to climb up and down stairs, balance its weight on one leg and even walk backwardsHonda

There are two schools of thought in the robotics industry - one sector continues to aim for humanoid robot emulating sci-fi movies, while the other sector makes robots that suit a specific function, that usually move around using wheels or continuous tracks.

Colin Angle, the CEO of iRobot, a leading smart home robotics company, believes that humanoid robots that can walk are far too expensive to catch on in the mainstream. 

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Asimo is able to open bottles and pour drinks due to improved hand dexterityHonda

The robot also has improved hand dexterity, so it is able to open bottles, pour drinks, and can now express itself in both American and Japanese sign language.

If several people are speaking at the same time in front of the robot, Asimo is able to recognise faces and voices, and change its behaviour so it accommodates intentions of someone new who gives it a command.

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The newest incarnation of Asimo has been programmed to understand and express both American and Japanese sign languageHonda

Also, if you happen to be walking and the robot is walking towards you, it is smart enough to figure out the fact that your paths will intersect and will choose a different path in order to avoid bumping into you.

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Asimo is able to lift things, carry them and set them down due to improved object recognition technology, advanced multi-fingered hands and stronger legs with better control technologyHonda

Honda wants to get the European public more used to robots, and to that end, offers Asimo as a research platform where institutes and universities can research advanced intelligence systems and cognitive intelligence.