Honda’s Newest Product: Blind-spot Monitoring for Children

<img data-attachment-id="1742988" data-permalink="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/12/hondas-newest-product-blind-spot-monitoring-for-children/honda-ropot/" data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Honda-Ropot-e1607011907740.png" data-orig-size="3187,1829" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Honda Ropot" data-image-description="

Image: Honda

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While every other developed nation has been struggling unsuccessfully to catch up, Japan remains ground zero for adorable robots and Honda is continuing the trend with its new traffic-safety gizmo. Intended to advise young children on how to proceed through intersections, the product is really more like blind-spot-monitoring for kids than a full-on robotic entity. But it seems a useful useful addition to the pedestrian-heavy country where youngsters are substantially more likely to be struck by automobiles than here in North America.

Titled “Ropot” by its creators, the device rides on a backpack or shoulder strap and uses its GPS capabilities to remind kids to stop and look at intersections. It also allows parents to track the whereabouts of their offspring. However, since Ropot is targeted for children who are just starting to venture places on their own, a little parental spying may be warranted. All the adults have to do is make sure they take that first trip to school together so Honda’s wide-eyed helper can learn the route.

Ropot will also sense approaching traffic and issue vibrating warnings to novice pedestrians. While we do wonder if conditioning youngsters to depend on digital devices to instill safe behavior has any negative ramifications, especially as similar features appear to be ruining our own ability to drive cars effectively, its hard to knock something that actively warns kids when vehicles are rolling up from behind.

Honda seems to be keeping Ropot inside Japan for the time being. But we don’t see it being any less useful in other countries and it’s probably cute enough to have an effective marketing campaign without much effort. All the manufacturer needs to do is show it paling around with the bipedal ASIMO before he decides to hand it off to the child deemed most worthy of saving from rabid motorists. End it with a hug and Ropot winking at the camera, now affixed to the kid’s shoulder, and Honda will probably sell a million.

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[Image: Honda]

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