If you have any experience working in an industrial setting, you know that moving stuff from one place to another takes up a lot of time during the workday. Honda is working on a solution by continuing the development of its Autonomous Work Vehicle. At the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the company is looking for businesses that want to field test this potentially useful platform.
The version on display at the expo is the third generation of the Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle. Compared to the previous version, the cargo area has room for two pallets and a payload capacity of 2,000 pounds, which is up from 880 pounds for the second-generation variant. The bed is lower for loading things easier.
Gallery: Honda Reveals Prototype Autonomous Work Vehicle
The latest Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle can go up to 10 miles per hour (16 kilometers per hour). An 18.6-kilowatt-hour battery allows for 10 hours of operation between charges.
When operating, the vehicle is now capable of navigating better in areas where the global navigation satellite system has a weak signal or is unavailable. It also has enhanced obstacle detection. The tablet-based programming interface for telling the model where to go is simpler.
"We believe the Honda AWV can be a valuable solution to supporting construction teams while also enhancing worksite efficiencies and safety. Leveraging Honda's decades of experience developing reliable, safe, and clean mobility technology, we aim to address issues such as labor shortages and improved environmental performance," Jason VanBuren, systems engineering manager at American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Honda's idea for the Autonomous Work Vehicle is that people at a construction site could tell this machine where to go. It would have all the sensors necessary to navigate to that place without needing additional human input, freeing up a person to do something else other than trucking the cargo over.
In 2021, Honda demonstrated the second-gen Autonomous Work Vehicle by doing a month-long field test at a 1,000-acre solar panel construction site in New Mexico. The company had several prototypes working together there.
Eventually, Honda wants to put the Autonomous Work Vehicle on sale. However, it's not yet indicating when that would happen.
In terms of on-road vehicles, Honda and Sony are collaborating on the Afeela brand that aims to begin taking pre-orders in the first half of 2025 for a model with advanced driver assistance features. Deliveries would begin in 2026.