As if it's not enough that Japanese carmakers have crushed their American competition, now Torrance-based Honda, USA has announced that it's entering the Rose Parade with a huge top-hatted robot float. No, not Gort, the giant cyborg in The Day the Earth Stood Still, but a 49-foot version of Honda's “ASIMO humanoid robot.” (No mention from Honda if the top hat is a nostalgic salute to old-school capitalists or is meant to conjure the image of some colossal undertaker.) The biped ASIMObot  (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), which mimics human motion with eerie facility, normally stands at four feet, three inches. It can walk, run and carry objects.

Perhaps it will soon be used to pass out pink slips in Detroit.

The giant ASIMO, whose surface is covered with super-fine ground rice, was given a test run in Pasadena today. It's not known if it suddenly unchained itself from the float and ran amok in Old Town.

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