Honda on Thursday said it had set up three research firms in Japan, Germany and the United States to conduct basic research on artificial intelligence, biotechnology and new materials in a bid to get ahead on future technologies, CBS Marketwatch reported.

The report said Honda had been investing heavily in the leading edge of technology, including the development of the most advanced humanoid robot, Asimo, which made its debut in Europe this month.

Citing the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, CBS Marketwatch reported that each firm will employ local university professors and other personnel in the computer science and biotechnology fields to lead the research, which is mainly targeted at improving vehicle safety and efficiency. The company will also conduct research on the human brain, the Nikkei reportedly said.

According to CBS Marketwatch, a Honda spokesman said that the Japanese research firm would begin operations this summer.