The Honda Company may soon be joining Google self-driving car unit, the Waymo. This company has already started talks with Honda on the integration of its self-driving car technology into cars. The idea is to match Waymo’s expertise areas. The Google is capable of designing autonomous driving systems but knows little about the actual car designs. The Honda, on the other hand, is known for its high-end car models but has made limited efforts towards autonomous car technology.
The current Waymo fleet consists of its own Koala’ vehicles and 100 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans, which were provided by the Fiat Chrysler automakers after they two companies reached an agreement in May last year. The Chryslers hybrid car models are being outfitted with fully self-driving technology that includes systems such as sensor suites and purpose built-in computer. According to Waymo’s representative, these fleets are already undergoing tests in the U.S cities of Metro Phoenix, California, Arizona, Texas, Austin, Washington, Kirkland and Mountain View.
The automaker said that with Waymo collaboration, it may provide modified cars that can easily accommodate the startup’s software. The projected collaboration will allow Honda R & D to explore its technological approach and bring fully self-driving technology for the consumers.
The Google indicated that instead of perusing self-driving cars that operate without steering wheels or pedals, the company is looking forward to integrating its autonomous technology into vehicles that already has standard driver control features. The Google through its self-driving car unit, Waymo is currently perusing level 5 autonomy, which allows a car to drive itself completely without any human supervision or control. The president and principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, Patrick Moorhead asserted that the kind of deal expected between Honda and Waymo makes great sense given that there is increasing demand for fully autonomous cars in the market. He added that Apple should also follow the footsteps of Google’s self-driving automotive branch, Waymo by providing the electronics required for the production of such vehicles.
The Honda is planning to release its fully self-driving car models by the year 2020. The manufacturer has been testing its self-driving car models at Concord Naval Weapons, San Francisco since March 2015. Partnering with renowned auto manufacturers like Honda is indeed a logical move for Waymo to handle the manufacturing side of things. However, there are still some limitations or hurdles to this collaboration. The both companies need to convince their consumers that the technology is safe and secure. Also, there may arise difficulties building the technical software that supports the shared fleet such as routing and dispatch.