Honda could be the latest manufacturer to join the autonomous car bandwagon.
Autonomous technology is a big talking point in the car industry right now. This week Google accelerated its Waymo project and is currently fitting its autonomous technology to a fleet of 100 Pacific minivans as part of a partnership with Fiat-Chrysler. Meanwhile, Michigan has legalized these self-driving cars to be tested without anyone at the wheel. Honda is the latest manufacturer to express its interest in the autonomous car market, and is about to enter talks with Waymo about integrating its self-driving technology into future Honda vehicles.
While this is only at the early stages and therefore isn't a formal partnership just yet, the collaboration would allow both companies to learn about the integration of Waymo's fully self-driving sensors, software and advanced computing platform. Just like the customized Chrysler Pacifics, Honda will be talking about the possibility of modifying some of its vehicles with the technology. These would then join Waymo's existing fleet of self-driving cars, which are currently being tested in four US cities. If this does happen, Honda engineers from the US and Japan will work with Waymo teams in Mountain View, California and Novi, Michigan.
Honda has already said in the past that it wants to have its own autonomous vehicles on the road in 2020 to achieve its goal of a "collision-free society," and will continue to develop its own technology independently – a partnership with Waymo would allow the manufacturer to explore different options. It has also said that it doesn't think autonomous technology will replace traditional driving, which should be reassuring to gearheads. Given that Chrysler Pacifica is currently being tested by Waymo, perhaps we'll see the new Honda Odyssey minivan fitted with the technology if a partnership is agreed.