Is Honda Getting In On The Autonomous Car Action?
Clearly not wanting to miss out on any action or opportunities, Honda has joined the growing number of existing car makers, as well as some very big new names, in the autonomous car arena.
It appears autonomous technology is the buzz word amongst automakers right now. Google recently announced that they have increased the urgency of their Waymo project and are already installing their autonomous technology into 100 Pacifica minivans. This is part of a joint venture with Fiat-Chrysler. These self-driving vehicles are already legal for testing in Michigan. Honda have finally jumped on the bandwagon and are soon to start discussions with Waymo with a view to incorporating the autonomous technology in their new models.
It is still early days and nothing has been formalized at this stage. If the project goes ahead, it will see the two companies working out how to incorporate the Waymo self-driving sensors, computing platform and software into new Honda vehicles. The car maker wants to modify certain Honda models and integrate the autonomous technology; much like Chrysler did with the Pacificas. The move would see Japan and US engineers from Honda joining forces with the Waymo gang in Novi, Michigan and Mountain View, California.
Once finalized, it would result in the new cars expanding Waymo’s current fleet of autonomous cars that are being tested already in four American cities. Honda are keeping their options open as they strive to achieve their goal of a “collision-free society” and they intend to have their own self driving cars on the road by 2020. Despite the talks with Waymo, Honda will continue to work on their own technology in their own right.
Although they are working towards incorporating the new technology, Honda does not believe self-driving technology will replace driving as we know it today. The Fiat Chrysler and Waymo collaboration started back in May and saw Chrysler modifying a number of the Pacifica’s parts to accommodate the Waymo technology. Alterations had to be made to the chassis, the power train as well as the electrical and structural systems.
So it looks like the race is well and truly on and we are in for exciting times ahead.