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Honda shows its Autonomous Work Vehicle and latest robots at CES 2019

Honda is showcasing a variety of mobility, robotics, energy management, and connected concepts at CES 2019, January 8-11, 2019, and featuring demonstrations of in-vehicle connected services in the all-new 2019 Honda Passport.

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.

The company is showing 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.

The Autonomous Work Vehicle is based on Honda’s proven ATV chassis, and 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.

Honda is also highlighting SAFE SWARM, a concept that demonstrates Honda’s dream to realise a collision-free society through safe and smooth traffic flow using connected car technologies.

Inspired by nature, Honda R&D developed this 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.

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 specialised 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 recognise 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 is also debuting 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.

Recognising 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.