Honda has finally shown which are its self-driving prototypes this Wednesday, announcing that the mass market will soon benefit from semi-autonomous safety functions.
The public was more than thrilled because General Motors and Toyota showed their projects, Honda remaining the only one hiding its surprises.
The autonomous version of Acura’s RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is already known, but Honda has been secretly developing semi-autonomous functionality such as lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, and forward collision warning. All of these features are included in the 2016 Honda Civic and Acura, which has a $22,000 price.
According to Jim Keller, chief engineer for Honda Research and Development Americas, the company relies on results and not on promises. Plus, Honda wants to be different and original compared to the other companies, by being based on self-driving features on luxury models. In addition to this, the company hopes to have a full autonomy on highways by 2020.
Keller also underlined that Honda’s target and first concern is the customer’s safety. Two prototypes have been already presented at the GoMentum Station, an area designed for testing which was previously a 5,000-acre zone for naval munitions that included paved tunnels and roadway of 20 miles.
The cars were seen turning in autonomous mode, ceding the way for pedestrians, stopping and accelerating. The site in Concord, California, situated around 30 miles northeast of San Francisco, wishes to attract other car makers to test their autonomous car there. Easy Mile, the French maker of driverless shuttles, makes tests there as well.
A massive investment and many acquisitions have been used lately to develop autonomous driving and improve the auto industry. The autonomous vehicle technology start-up Cruise Automation was recently bought by General Motors with $1 billion whereas Toyota announced a budget $1 billion which will be invested in the next five years in self-driving car technology.
Honda seems to be doing the same thing but more discretely. Hopefully, in the future, the auto industry will not only reduce air pollution but also improve driver’s safety. It looks like major companies understood this concept and started to focus even more on this aspect.
Possibly in a few years, we will see a different shape, an improved one of the auto-industry market.
Image Source:Japan Bullet