It now appears that Waymo has another suitor — Honda. The Japanese auto giant announced that it has begun talks with Waymo to provide vehicles that will be used for self-driving trials. So far, Honda has only entered into “formal discussions” with Waymo, and no agreements have been made for final vehicle production.
“This technical collaboration between Honda researchers and Waymo's self-driving technology team would allow both companies to learn about the integration of Waymo's fully self-driving sensors, software and computing platform into Honda vehicles,” said Honda in a statement. “As part of the discussion on technical collaboration, Honda could initially provide Waymo with vehicles modified to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology.”
The tie-up with Waymo could instantly give Honda credibility in the inevitable march towards fully autonomous vehicles. Honda had previously indicated that it would introduce vehicles with self-driving functionality by the start of the next decade, and its current vehicles are about half-way there, as witnessed by the latest CR-V compact crossover. The all-new 2017 CR-V is available with the Honda Sensing safety suite that includes Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking and Road Departure Mitigation (among others) to automate some driver controls and reduce the potential for accidents.
“In addition to these on-going efforts, this technical collaboration with Waymo could allow Honda R&D to explore a different technological approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market,” added Honda.
It remains to be seen which vehicles Honda will choose to outfit with Waymo technology should this deal go forward. However, larger people-movers like the CR-V, Pilot mid-size crossover and Odyssey minivan would make excellent platforms.