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Image: Honda

Honda is planning an extensive exhibit for next month’s CES, Las Vegas, to highlight its work in autonomous vehicles, robotics and connectivity and to attract future collaborators. Its Silicon Valley-based Honda Innovations division is to announce new tie-ups with start-ups and other partners.

The Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle [pictured], designed by Honda R&D Americas, will be shown in prototype form; based on Honda’s existing ATV (all-terrain vehicle) chassis, and developed from the 3E-D18 concept seen in Vegas last year, it has been fitted with GPS and sensors for autonomy in almost any environment, plus auxiliary power provision. It is conceived as a vehicle for application in sectors such as construction, agriculture, and search and rescue or emergency services, and has been beta-tested in real-world environments including a solar energy farm in North Carolina, fire-fighting in wildlands in Colorado, and an agricultural college in California.

The company’s robotics display will include PATH Bot (Predicting Action of the Human), an AI-enhanced robot which can move smoothly in public places without bumping into people; its RaaS (Robotics as a Service) software platform; and its Omni Traction Drive System mechanism for multi-directional mobility, as used in the Uni-Cub self-balancing mobility device.

Connected-car services and solutions

Safe Swarm, first introduced at CES 2017, has also been further developed. This wireless V2X concept enables vehicles to communicate and share data with infrastructure, other vehicles and automated systems, to inform drivers or intervene in situations such as traffic merging and hazard avoidance; it has additional potential to ease traffic flow. Honda has put it through closed-course testing and is soon to carry out real-world tests in Ohio on the connectivity-enabled ’33 Smart Mobility Corridor’.

In-vehicle connected services will be demonstrated in the 2019 Passport SUV, including the latest Honda Dream Drive VR experience from the Honda Developer Studio and DreamWorks; this now encompasses app controls for drivers and passengers, plus more features and functionalities for retail, services and entertainment. The Honda Xcelerator program, meanwhile, will highlight its work with Noveto Systems on 3D audio technology – spatially-directed sound signals to support navigation and alerts – and with Perceptive Automata on real-time analysis of onboard sensor data, picking up on visual cues from pedestrians, cyclists and drivers for safer and smoother traffic flow.

Honda will also launch its wireless, inductive-charging V2G energy management system for electric vehicles: this will enable Honda EV owners to participate in grid-management programmes, receiving incentives for their cars to act as battery storage or to charge off-peak.