Honda Innovations takes a broader look at mobility

By Author: Carolyn Briggs, Date: Apr 18, 2017

When we talk about the future of mobility, we rarely focus solely on cars and driving. Whether we like it or not the way we get around is changing. If you were to take a time machine forward 20 years you might not even see a car as we know it on the road.

Honda seems to understand that to stay on top of the business of getting from A to B, you’re going to have to know more than cars. In fact, they’ve founded a whole company to make sure they’re at the forefront of mobility tech.

The Honda Silicon Valley Lab has been pioneering new technology for Honda for years, though their focus was mainly on innovations related directly to vehicles. Honda R&D Innovations, Inc. will broaden that lens. They’ll certainly continue working on connecting vehicles to the Internet and the human machine interface, but they’ll also be developing tech related to personal mobility, machine intelligence and sharing economy.

The notion being all of these fields will come into play in getting us around in the future.

Teams at Honda Innovations will seek to collaborate directly with engineers at Honda in all areas, but they’ll also look for partnerships outside of the Honda brand, from startups to global brands to design and development companies.

One such collaboration is with Waymo, an autonomous tech company started at Google. Waymo and Honda signed a memorandum of understanding late last year, and Honda Innovations is currently working on ways to incorporate Waymo’s tech into Honda cars.

Honda’s Developer Studio and Xcelerator program will continue on, now housed within Honda Innovations.

The Xcelerator works to find innovators at all stages of funding and development and provide financial and technical support to get their project to the public faster. The Developer Studio connects developers directly with engineers to quickly integrate new apps and tech in Honda vehicles. Mostly this leads to useful new apps – they recently introduced an in-car payment app. But they also work on more whimsical projects; at CES the Developer Studio created an immersive in-car VR experience triggered by the motion of the wheels using content from DreamWorks Trolls.

Now there’s not a lot we can do with that right now, but imagine a world where your autonomous car can drive you around Westeros, or Jurassic Park. Road trips with kids just became a whole lot easier.

We’ll be keeping an eye on Honda Innovations. Hopefully they’ll be able to turn my car into a holodeck soon.

Carolyn Briggs

I grew up on the road. As a child, my family took regular trips from Wisconsin to both coasts. That's how I've seen most of this country — through the window of a car. Years later, I still feel that excitement when I toss my bags in the trunk and get behind the wheel. That's how seeing something new always begins. I've scaled mountains, dived with sharks, and stepped to the very edge of the Grand Canyon, all because I spent hours in a car. This site combines my passion for the road with my actual talent — communication and journalism. In college I rose to the position of managing editor for The Badger Herald, the largest independent student newspaper in the country at the time. I spent a year after graduating in social media marketing before moving off the grid to explore the wild beauty of West Virginia.

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