The Honda Shogo is a fun way for kids to navigate hospitals

The Honda Shogo is a fun way for kids to navigate hospitals

Back in 2021, Honda developed a small electric car for children to use exclusively in hospitals. Medical facilities can be scary places, especially for kids, but the friendly car, called Shogo, was designed to make moving around in them a more pleasant experience. It was originally used in just one hospital, but now Honda is making the Shogo available nationwide.

Introduced at Children’s Health of Orange County (CHOC), the Shogo is a single-seat vehicle about the size of a child’s electric ride-on toy. It was engineered for children ages 4 to 9, who can steer and control the stop and go functions of the car. A nurse or caregiver controls the speed, which can be limited from 1 to 5 mph.

There are no doors, so children can easily enter and exit the car, and a small compartment at the front can hold accompanying toys that the driver brings. The Shogo also includes a cupholder, a horn with different sound options, and a space for a customizable license plate that displays the name of each driver. It’s meant to be a ray of sunshine for our littlest patients dealing with hospitalization and illness.  

Features specific to the hospital setting include an IV pole holder and soft-touch surfaces that are easy to clean. A handle at the rear can be used by caregivers to push the car when necessary.

The nationwide expansion of the program will include the construction of 60 Shogo cars. Production will be carried out by Honda Performance Development, Honda’s U.S.-based racing division and the unit responsible for concoctions like the 800-horse CR-V. Technically, it’s now HRC US, as it recently merged with Honda Racing Corporation, the entity responsible for the company’s global racing efforts. 

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The name Shogo means “soaring into the future” in Japanese, a bit lofty for a kids’ car. On the other hand, good corporate citizenship is an integral part of life in Japan, and Honda has developed a number of machines beyond cars and motorcycles (and lawnmowers and outboard motors and jets) to help differently abled people. Most were developed in Japan, but the Shogo, notably, was dreamed up by American Honda engineers. It now joins a long list that includes devices like the Monpal mobility scooter, the Uni-Cub motorized office chair, exosuit-esque walking assist devices, and the ASIMO robot. 

The Shogo is already in use at hospitals in Indianapolis and Ohio. The rest will proliferate to children’s hospitals across the U.S. this fall.