"The new model Asimo, which Honda plans to begin leasing next month, can greet and recognize people, as well as perform advanced commands such as moving in the direction indicated by reading hand gestures."
"If asked, it can even provide real-time information such as the weather by tapping into the Internet or other network sources."
"Honda, considered one of the most innovative Japanese companies and a leader in developing humanoid robots for home use, said it would use the 4-foot-tall Asimo at several of its dealerships in Japan next year. The automaker currently leases the previous version of Asimo to International Business Machines Corp IBM.N and six other companies as a high-tech receptionist and hospitality robot. Honda said it would continue making improvements to enable more practical and involved functions."
"It hopes the robot will one day become a useful household companion, although with an annual rental fee of $161,500 now, officials said that would take a while."