Honda's Giant Robot Runs Amok

Tight-lipped Pasadena officials are beginning the grim task of assessing the damage wreaked along Colorado Boulevard by Honda's 49-foot ASIMO robot during yesterday's Rose Parade. There had been little indication of trouble when the 120th Tournament of Roses march began at its Orange Grove Boulevard starting point. The five-story ASIMO replica, made of ground rice, chrysanthemums and seaweed, did seem to take an inordinate amount of time going through a routine in which it rose from a bowing position to tip its giant top hat — drawing impatient comments from KTLA TV parade anchors Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks. Other than a small girl who was blinded in one eye by an errant firework released from the hat, all had seemed to be running smoothly for the float.

The trouble began midway down the parade's Colorado Boulevard route, when ASIMO tore free of its flatbed moorings and began destroying buildings. A representative from Mayor Bill Bogaard's office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the city has not ruled out a lawsuit against Honda.

“Now isn't the time for finger-pointing,” the representative told L.A. Weekly.  “Our immediate concern is the cleanup and contacting insurers and stakeholders.” Rose Parade officials did not return calls for this article.

Left: Site of Paseo Colorado shopping mall. (Tommy Bahama's appears to right of frame.)

(Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images/
NY Times)

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