Certain carmakers treat the business more as an encompassing ecosystem rather than just a business of rolling new vehicles off an assembly line. Surprising nobody, it’s the Japanese carmakers that tend to lean that way.
Honda did its part to make roads a lot safer for young pedestrians with a little robot that reminds kids to stop and look both ways before crossing the road.
In Japan, kids as young as seven walk themselves to school and encountering vehicle traffic for the first time can take some getting used to. That’s where Ropot comes in. Honda dubs it a traffic-safety advice robot that attaches to the straps of a kid’s backpack.
In fact, the seven-year-old age group is the most involved in pedestrian collision. Kids at that age possess a narrower field of vision as compared to an adult that obviously makes it a little more difficult to navigate traffic hazards.
To start using Ropot, the guardian will first have to walk the usual route with the child. This allows Ropot to learn the route and be programmed with predetermined crosswalks using the GPS feature. The next time the child arrives at the crosswalk, Ropot will buzz as a reminder to look both ways before crossing.
There’s also a vehicle detection sensor that picks up vehicles approaching from behind the child. It buzzes the user so they can look behind to avoid the vehicle if necessary. Lastly, Ropot functions as a GPS tracker so the parents or guardian can keep track of the child during the walk to or from school.
“It’s true that the safety performance of cars is improving day by day. However, I was shocked to find out about the Devil’s 7-year-old problem. At the peak, many small children are victims of traffic accidents. I myself had children of that age, so I strongly felt that I had to do something from a different angle than the car. This was the catalyst for the development of Ropot,” explained Daisuke Kiryu of Honda R&D, on the inspiration behind him creating the device.
Wouldn’t we all have wanted a little robot buddy on our shoulder back when we were in primary school.