Second generation of the self-driving test car has revised hardware.
Acura is continuing its research into autonomous-car technology with an updated version of its RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD sedan. The second-generation self-driving prototype has wholly revised hardware and software, which Acura says allows engineers to put the car through “more complex testing scenarios.”
As before, the Acura RLX prototype uses radar and lidar sensors to determine the position and speed of other vehicles and obstacles, plus cameras to help detect the size and type of nearby objects, and GPS for navigation. Compared to the first version, this self-driving Acura RLX has more powerful processing units with better heat management and more compact cables and circuitry, Acura says. The sedan’s roof-mounted sensors are also considerably more compact and less obtrusive than on an earlier version of the RLX prototype (pictured in gallery below.)
Acura will test the RLX at GoMentum Station near San Francisco, a 5,000-acre facility with 20 miles of paved roadways designed specifically for testing autonomous and connected cars. The facility was formerly home to the Concord Naval Weapons Station, which closed in 2007. Acura and Honda also are partnering with the MCity autonomous-car test track in Michigan.
Like many other automakers, Honda and Acura are putting serious resources behind the development of self-driving cars. In a presentation in January, American Honda Motor Co. executive vice president John Mendel said the automaker planned to introduce autonomous vehicles by the end of this decade.
“We're targeting 2020 for the introduction of highly automated vehicles on U.S. highways,” he said. “Automated and connected vehicle technologies carry with them the promise of a truly transformed mobility experience.”