As the category-exclusive sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Honda will talk up its robotics program with an appearance by its four-foot-tall Asimo robot, which is featured in its sixth "Dream the Impossible" documentary. The film premieres at the Jan. 21-23 festival, as well.
For a year now, Honda has been producing the futurist documentaries, developed by its AOR, Los Angeles-based RPA, about various elements of invention, manufacture and other technological pursuits and issues.
Honda has used Asimo since its debut in 2000 as a way to promote its advanced-technology programs and to promote science education. It has also used the robot as a kind of promotional spokes-robot for Honda's technological prowess.
Asimo might be the most famous robot in the world after Astro Boy (whom Honda said influenced the design of Asimo). Asimo has also starred in Honda corporate advertising in markets like the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. A Honda spokesperson says the company now does daily demonstrations of Asimo at its Honda Asimo Theatre exhibit at Disney Land. "We do an educational-style, live, 15-minute demo to show how a robot like Asimo might someday be helpful."
The spokesperson says Honda uses Asimo "to primarily inspire kids and students to get into sciences, but someday we will have a production version that would be available for sale." Last month, Honda brought Asimo to Windsor Castle to "congratulate" finalists in a young-person's competition. The robot has made appearances in science fairs in Italy, Spain, and Australia, and conducted the Detroit Symphony in one stint.
Honda says the "Living with Robots" film, directed by Joe Berlinger, who has helmed "Brother's Keeper," "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster" and "Crude", takes a philosophical look at the implications of a roboticized world. Science fiction writers, directors, engineers, academics and others weigh in. Honda will show the film for six days at Sundance.
Toyota has also been working in the robotics field and has its own prototype, Partner, which it has been showing off in presentations in which the 'bot plays musical instruments, among other things.
Honda is also using its sponsorship of the show to display the forthcoming Honda CR-Z, which the automaker unveiled in Detroit last week. The car is a sport coupe with a hybrid gas/electric powertrain. Also, there will be a Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle.