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VEHICLE AUTONOMY


Honda showcases its innovative approach to delivering vehicle autonomy for improved workplace mobility and road safety.


Autonomous innovation ❱ ❱ Autonomous work vehicle takes driverless control into work spaces in difficult environments J


apanese automotive manufacturer, Honda was at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show at the start of the year with its range of


connected mobility innovations on show to reinforce the concept of vehicles representing the merging of mobility and electronics. The R&D wing of Honda has created


Honda Innovations, a springboard for collaborations with startups and major brand partners through its open innovation programmes, Honda Developer Studio and Honda Xcelerator. Both serve as catalysts to discover and experiment with new technologies and concepts in line with the company’s commitment to open innovation.


AUTONOMOUS WORK VEHICLE Amongst the innovations on show are CES 2019 was the “Autonomous Work Vehicle”, designed to bring efficiencies and increased safety to construction, agriculture, search and rescue and fire fighting applications. The Autonomous Work Vehicle is based on Honda’s four wheel drive ATV chassis equipped with GPS and sensor-based autonomy capable of guiding the unit in almost any environment. It is also equipped with a rail accessory mount system for limitless accessories and attachments and onboard power plug-ins. Honda and its partners have been


testing and evaluating applications for the vehicle in a broad array of working environments, including a large-scale solar operations company in North Carolina, a wild land fire fighting division in Colorado and an agricultural and environmental sciences college in California.


SAFETY THROUGH CONNECTIVITY Expanding the concept of V2x (Vehicle to anything) connectivity, Honda has introduced its “Safe Swarm” innovation. Inspired by the movement of swarms in nature, Honda has developed the concept with the goal of enabling vehicles to wirelessly communicate and move fluidly and efficiently without a collision like a school of fish. Using V2x technology, Safe Swarm allows vehicles to communicate with surrounding vehicles and share key information such as location and speed. With this information, along with on- board sensors, the driver or automated vehicle systems can determine the safest course of action in merging with traffic or avoiding a road hazard. Safe Swarm can improve traffic flow by taking information from vehicles ahead to prevent potential traffic congestion, take early braking action to help avoid a wave of emergency braking, or to change lanes if needed. It does this through an on-board system with V2x communication, as well as the existing


❱ ❱ The Omni Traction Drive is being deployed in autonomous guided vehicles


sensors on the vehicle and even sensors in the infrastructure. Originally introduced two years ago,


Honda has advanced the technology by conducting closed course testing and will next evaluate the concept in a real-world environment on the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor in Ohio, planned to become the longest stretch of continuously connected vehicle-to-infrastructure roadway in the world.


OMNI-DIRECTIONAL DRIVE The Robotics Research division of Honda has also been contributing to the field of autonomous mobility with the adaptation of omni-directional drive mechanisms that can be used in guided vehicles. Ideal for use in challenging driving


environments and harsh terrains, omni- drives have a number of advantages over wheel based mechanisms but have yet to reach acceptance in mainstream mobility applications. Based on Honda’s self balancing personal mobility device, the Uni- Cub, the company’s Omni Traction Drive System is now being deployed as part of a collaboration with Japan’s Nidec-Shimpo Corporation, which has licensed the technology for use in its S-CART automated guided vehicle. This represents a first step for the company in blending robotic drive systems with autonomous control.


Automotive Test & Validation Vol 2 No. 1 /// 5


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