Honda entering "formal discussions" re: self-driving with Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo division
Date: December 21, 2016 20:09
Honda Press Release
Fully autonomous (self-driving) vehicles are one of the hottest topics in tech and automotive circles these days, so it was only a matter of time before Honda officially threw their hat into the ring to remind the public that they haven't just been sitting on the sidelines. In fact, Honda R&D has been working on advanced driver assist technologies for many years, and Honda's Honda Sensing and AcuraWatch safety features are evidence of that. But with the recent rush of attention garnered by fully-autonomous/self-driving vehicle press releases, it seems like Honda has picked a solid partner in Waymo (the newly independent division of Alphabet, Inc., formerly known as Google, Inc.).
Honda is being characteristically measured with the wording of their press release, using general terms and stating a timeframe of "around 2020". This is in contrast to a few other companies – some of whom are claiming that full autonomy will arrive within a year or less. Whether or not the technology will be ready and economically viable in that aggressive 1-year timeframe (we're more than a little skeptical on that front), the bigger challenge would seem to be the regulatory hurdles that will almost certainly stand in the way.
Unfortunately, a "semi-autonomous" system of one automaker has been the subject of several tragic accidents with fatal results within the past year. This will undoubtedly add to the scrutiny of these systems in the interests of securing the overall safety of the driving public. So maybe 2020 even sounds a little bit optimistic.
Honda's press release follows:
Honda and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo Enter Discussions on Technical Collaboration of Fully Self-driving Automobile Technology
Dec 21, 2016 - TOKYO, Japan
Honda R&D Co., Ltd., the R&D subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., announced today that it is entering into formal discussions with Waymo, an independent company of Alphabet Inc., to integrate its self-driving technology with Honda vehicles. This technical collaboration between Honda researchers and Waymo's self-driving technology team would allow both companies to learn about the integration of Waymo's fully self-driving sensors, software and computing platform into Honda vehicles.
As part of the discussion on technical collaboration, Honda could initially provide Waymo with vehicles modified to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology. These vehicles would join Waymo's existing fleet, which are currently being tested across four U.S. cities.
If both parties agree to enter into a formal agreement, Honda R&D engineers based in Silicon Valley, California and Tochigi, Japan, would work closely with Waymo engineers based in Mountain View, California and Novi, Michigan.
Honda previously announced its intention to put production vehicles with automated driving capabilities on highways sometime around 2020 related to its goal of a collision-free society. In addition to these on-going efforts, this technical collaboration with Waymo could allow Honda R&D to explore a different technological approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market. These discussions are an initial step that will allow Waymo and Honda R&D to further explore the potential of a broad range of automated driving technologies.
About Honda R&D Co, Ltd.
Honda R&D Co., Ltd. is an independent subsidiary company of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and serves as Honda's primary research and development organization for the company's automobile, motorcycle, power products and aviation products. Based on over half a century of accumulated engineering expertise, Honda R&D seeks to actively lead the way through new technologies and resources to define the future of mobility. Honda R&D is playing a central role in the development of Honda's automated driving technologies, with responsibility for the entire process from fundamental research to product development. For more information, please visit: http://world.honda.com/RandD/
The Honda Silicon Valley Lab (HSVL) is a division of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., the North American research and development subsidiary of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. HSVL was established in May 2011 in Mountain View, Calif. as an open innovation lab for global Honda, focused on information technology. HSVL interfaces with a broad spectrum of IT innovators, from large, well established companies to small startup firms and individuals. This technical collaboration with Waymo is a part of its role. For more information, please visit: www.hondasvl.com
Waymo is a self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around. We're determined to improve transportation for people around the world, building on software and sensor technology developed in Google's labs since 2009. In October 2015, we achieved the world's first fully self-driving trip on public roads, in a car without a steering wheel or pedals. We refine Waymo technology through one billion miles of simulation testing each year, and our cars have self-driven over two million miles on public roads across four U.S. cities.
Last edited by JeffX on
December 21, 2016 21:29