Would you let this creepy robot chauffeur drive you around?

would you let this creepy robot chauffeur drive you around?

Musashi the robot driver behind the wheel (Picture: Kento Kawaharazuka)

Developing driverless cars is very complicated – just ask Elon Musk or Google.

Not only do they need to be able to ‘see’ all around them, they also need to be able to physically control the car when there isn’t a human at the controls.

To make the process a bit simpler, scientists at the University of Tokyo decided to approach the problem differently – what if instead of a robot car, a regular car just had a robot driver?

Enter Musashi, the robot chauffeur of the future.

The team, led by Dr Kento Kawaharazuka, created Musashi to mimic the human body in a way that enabled it to control a car, such as turning the steering wheel and pressing the pedals. Known as a musculoskeletal humanoid, it has a joint and muscle structure inspired by humans, and pressure sensors in its hands and feet.

It has 74 ‘muscles’ and 39 joints, excluding the hands, which have five fingers.

Just as fully autonomous vehicles are not yet a reality, Musashi isn’t going to be chauffeuring celebs to the red carpet any time soon.

‘I’m not looking 10 or 20 years in the future, but I’m looking 50 or 100 years away,’ said Dr Kawaharazuka.

But while it may be a way off, a humanoid driver could be more versatile than single autonomous cars – hopping between vehicles and allowing owners of non-autonomous cars to take the backseat, literally.

Whether passengers will be happy to let a robot do the driving, however, remains to be seen.

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