Asimo meets Pepper: Honda and Softbank partnering in robots

TOKYO – Is Honda’s walking robot Asimo marrying Pepper, the chattering robot from SoftBank?

Automaker Honda Motor Co. and internet company SoftBank said Thursday they will work together on artificial intelligence to develop products with sensors and cameras that can converse with drivers.

Asimo, first shown in 1996, walks, runs, dances and grips things.

Pepper, which went on sale last year, doesn’t have legs but is programmed to recognize mood swings in people it interacts with.

Major automakers and technology companies are interested in robotics to improve driving safety and comfort.

But experts say humans are still better at driving overall than the smartest machine.

Honda said it’s focusing on AI research with a new laboratory in Tokyo, set to open in September.