Honda will put an emphasis on the intersection between autonomous functionality and robotics at this year's Consumer Electronics Show from January 8 to 11. The vehicles show that the money companies are investing into self-driving tech has applications in other areas.
Gallery: Honda 2019 CES Lineup
The Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle is a robotic version of the company's four-wheeler that is capable of going where the conditions might be too dangerous for a person. GPS and a variety of sensors can take the vehicle into the wilderness, and onboard mounts allow for attaching accessories for getting work done. The rig could even work alongside people, including functioning as a mobile battery thanks to its power plugs for recharging equipment.
Honda is already beta testing the autonomous ATV by partnering with companies that might have a use for it. So far, the rig has worked at a solar operations company in North Carolina, wildland firefighters in Colorado, and an agricultural and environmental sciences college in California.
Honda will also show off the P.A.T.H. Bot, standing for Predicting Action of the Human. This self-balancing oval looks futuristic, and like the Autonomous Work Vehicle, it's supposed to help people. Rather than specializing in rugged terrain, this robot would focus on functioning in areas that are crowded with people. A combination of artificial intelligence, sensors, and cameras work together to identify humans and other obstacles, and the device would have enough maneuverability not to hit them. Honda is still looking for partners to test this robot in public, though.
These devices are part of what Honda calls its Robotics as a Service Platform. The idea standardizes elements like data storage, communication, and robot-to-robot cooperation that creates a unified method for creating these mechanical helpers.
The company has also developed the mobility tech from its Uni-Cub self-balancing chair into the Honda Omni Traction Drive System. It looks like a traditional wheel, but it's capable of moving a vehicle in any direction. Honda already licenced the tech to a Japanese business that has implemented the unit into an autonomous cart for use in factories.
CES 2019: Honda Creates New Categories of Technology to Enhance Work, Offer Convenience, Reduce Carbon and Save Lives
December 11, 2018, Japan
Mobility, robotics, and energy management solutions will support people’s daily lives
Field testing shows advances in Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle and SAFE SWARM™
Honda encourages B2B networking opportunities at CES 2019
Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 11, 2018 – Returning to CES with new technologies that aim to enhance people’s lives, Honda will showcase a variety of mobility, robotics, energy management, and connected concepts at CES 2019, January 8-11, 2019, that have the potential to create a cleaner, safer, and more convenient world. The company will feature demonstrations of in-vehicle connected services in the all-new 2019 Honda Passport, and provide a first look at real-world testing of the off-road Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle, a new category of vehicle dreamed up by Honda engineers.
Honda’s CES exhibit highlights the company’s technology prowess in a broad range of areas and offers a vision of collaboration with business and technology partners to create new categories of products. Honda encourages potential collaboration partners to visit its CES booth #7900 in North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Honda Innovations, the Silicon Valley arm of Honda R&D, will debut new collaborations with startups and major brand partners through its open innovation programs, Honda Developer Studio and Honda Xcelerator. Both serve as catalysts to discover and experiment with new technologies and concepts, further emphasizing Honda’s commitment to open innovation.
“Honda is seeking new partners who want to join us in the development and user testing of our technology concepts, and CES provides a vast B2B marketplace to explore collaboration opportunities,” said Nick Sugimoto, Honda Innovations CEO. “Through open innovation Honda can create new value for mobility, accommodate people’s different lifestyles, and advance our vision toward a more enjoyable and collision-free society.”
Honda will feature the following technology prototypes and concepts at CES 2019:
Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle: Increasing work efficiency
Honda will show real-world testing scenarios of the Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle, a prototype off-road vehicle that is a combination of Honda’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and emerging advanced autonomous technology. It was designed by Honda R&D Americas to bring efficiencies and increased safety to public, commercial, and consumer enterprises, such as construction, agriculture, search and rescue and firefighting. The Autonomous Work Vehicle is based on Honda’s proven ATV chassis, which has a 30-year history of accessing hard-to-reach locations with its rugged four-wheel drive system. The vehicle features GPS and sensor-based autonomy capable of guiding the unit in almost any environment; a rail accessory mount system for limitless accessories and attachments; and onboard power plug-ins.
Since the Autonomous Work Vehicle’s debut at CES 2018 under the name 3E-D18, Honda has worked with partners to beta-test and evaluate use cases in a broad array of work environments, including a large-scale solar operations company in North Carolina, a wildland firefighting division in Colorado, and an agricultural and environmental sciences college in California. As R&D efforts continue on the Autonomous Work Vehicle, Honda seeks to collaborate with partners to develop accessories and attachments that will expand the machine’s potential uses, businesses that may have a need for the vehicle, and autonomy technology and sensor developers to further improve the platform’s off-road autonomy. Interested businesses and technology partners may email AWV@hra.com.
Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle
SAFE SWARM™ : Creating a safer driving experience
SAFE SWARM™ is a concept that demonstrates Honda’s dream to realize a collision-free society through safe and smooth traffic flow using connected car technologies. Inspired by nature, Honda R&D developed this unique SAFE SWARM™ concept with the goal of enabling vehicles to wirelessly communicate and move fluidly and efficiently without a collision like a school of fish. Using Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology, Honda SAFE SWARM™ allows vehicles to communicate with surrounding vehicles and share key information such as location and speed. With this information, along with the sensor suite on the vehicle, the driver or automated vehicle systems can determine the safest course of action in merging with traffic or avoiding a road hazard. Ultimately, Honda believes that connecting all road users will create a safer transportation environment, mitigating and eventually eliminating all traffic fatalities.
Honda’s SAFE SWARM™ concept can improve traffic flow by taking information from vehicles ahead to prevent potential traffic snarls, 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 sensors on the vehicle and even sensors in the infrastructure.
After introducing the SAFE SWARM™ concept at CES 2017, Honda has been 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. To accelerate SAFE SWARM™ testing, Honda is seeking research and development partners, particularly businesses involved in the field of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV).
Robotics: Enhancing people’s lives
Honda is developing a variety of robotics technologies to carry out its vision of a future where robotics devices support people and enhance human potential. The Honda P.A.T.H. (Predicting Action of the Human) Bot is a robot specialized in moving smoothly around public places without interfering with people. Equipped with artificial intelligence, Honda P.A.T.H. Bot uses an onboard camera and sensors to identify its location and recognize its surroundings, allowing it to move from one destination to the next while avoiding obstacles and selecting the optimal route. Honda is seeking P.A.T.H. Bot field demonstration testing partners.
To make the development of robotics solutions easier, Honda will introduce the Honda RaaS (Robotics as a Service) Platform. This software platform concept offers common functions, including data storage/sharing, communication control, state transition, and robot-to-robot cooperation through an interface or package such as API*2 and SDK*3. Honda aims to facilitate the seamless integration of robotics services by enabling coordination among robotics devices, systems and applications developed by Honda and various development partners. To realize this technology, Honda seeks to collaborate with robotics device developers and robotics solution providers.
Rounding out the Honda CES robotics display is Honda Omni Traction Drive System, a mechanism that enables omni-directional mobility. Originated from Honda robotics research, Honda Omni Traction Drive is the driving system of UNI-CUB, Honda’s self-balancing personal mobility device.
Since the mechanism can be applied to a variety of mobility products and devices, Honda is pursuing collaborations with partners seeking to add new value in mobility and transportation. Honda’s first collaboration is with Japan-based Nidec-Shimpo Corporation, which licensed the Honda Omni Traction Drive System for its S-CART automated guided vehicle.
Honda P.A.T.H. Bot
Honda RaaS Platform
Honda Omni Traction Drive System
Wireless Vehicle-to-Grid: Reducing CO2 while creating new customer value
Honda will debut its Wireless Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), a bi-directional energy management system that has the potential to reduce CO2 and create new value for customers. The growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) has the potential to strain the power grid, leading to the increased use of non-renewable energy sources to meet demand, which will result in greater carbon emissions. Recognizing that batteries in vehicles also can be used as storage to help balance supply and demand, Honda EV owners will be able to participate in the V2G program and receive compensation from utility operators who benefit from the use of Honda EVs to balance the grid’s energy supply.
Unlike charging with a conventional charging cable, the system enables noncontact charging and discharging of an EV by parking on a charging pad, which makes the charging experience more convenient for customers. Honda has developed this Wireless Vehicle-to-Grid with WiTricity, the industry pioneer in wireless power transfer over distance. The Honda Wireless Vehicle-to-Grid can help eliminate the gap between supply and demand of electricity by charging EVs when power generation is greater than power consumption, and by discharging electricity from EVs to the power grid when consumption is greater than generation. To put this system in practical use, Honda is interested in collaborating with energy-related companies, including aggregators and electric companies.
Honda Innovations: Advancing collaboration
Honda Innovations collaborates with startups and established corporate partners to create cutting edge products and services through its open innovation programs, Honda Developer Studio and Honda Xcelerator.
At CES, Honda Developer Studio will use the all-new 2019 Honda Passport to demonstrate the enhanced HondaDream Drive experience. Honda Developer Studio and DreamWorks Animation teamed up to produce Honda Dream Drive, a virtual reality experience synchronized with the motion of the vehicle for CES 2017. Since then, the Honda Dream Drive platform has been expanded to provide more features and functionality and encompasses applications for both drivers and passengers.
Honda Dream Drive: Driver demonstrates the expansion of Honda’s in-vehicle payment technology concept, first introduced at CES 2017. It enables customers to make restaurant reservations, pay for goods and services like fuel, movie tickets and parking, and share the driver’s location – all from Honda’s connected car mobile wallet. Honda Dream Drive: Passenger offers mixed reality games, movies and travel applications, as well as control of radio and cabin features – all from the passenger’s mobile device. The more robust Honda Dream Drive platform will also debut a concept rewards system that allows customers to earn rewards. Honda Dream Drive experiences have been developed in collaboration with industry leaders in retail and entertainment and will be announced at CES 2019.
As Honda’s liaison to startup ecosystems in the U.S. and globally, Honda Xcelerator will highlight its collaborations with startups Noveto Systems and Perceptive Automata to develop driver assistive technologies.
Honda Xcelerator and Noveto will demonstrate 3D audio technology leveraging Noveto Smart Audio™ technology – developed independently by Noveto – that sends targeted audio signals to each of the user’s ears enabling intuitive audible cues to be delivered to the driver without requiring them to take their eyes off the road. This technology will enhance the driver’s spatial awareness of their surrounding environment by warning the driver of hard-to-see objects detected by on-board sensors, as well as delivering a more intuitive navigation experience.
With Perceptive Automata, Honda Xcelerator will showcase their collaboration for safer and smoother traffic flow for both human drivers and autonomous vehicles. Perceptive Automata gives autonomous vehicles human-like intuition to understand the state of mind of pedestrians, bicyclists, and human drivers through real-time analysis of onboard sensor data. CES attendees will learn more about these Honda Xcelerator collaborations through interactive exhibits.
Business and technology partners who are interested in collaboration opportunities are encouraged to contact Honda at https://global.honda/innovation/CES/2019.html.