Honda rolled out two prototypes for CES, the recently revealed NeuV electric automated mini vehicle and the simply named Riding Assist Motorcycle. Additionally, the automaker revealed a partnership with Visa, DreamWorks Animation, and the company’s own Honda Developer Studio and Honda Silicon Valley Labs “Xcellerator.” The latter is meant to fuel work between early-stage startups and Honda in an effort to boost and improve innovation within the industry. Finally, Honda announced Safe Swarm, a concept that uses technology to mimic a school of fish and create safe and cohesive roadways.
The two prototypes will be on display at Honda’s booth. The NeuV stands for New Electric Urban Vehicle and was created with the understanding that most cars sit idle for most of their lives. The NeuV is Honda’s vision of the future, where a car can provide ride sharing for others when not being used by the owner. The concept is also capable of selling back energy to the grid when not in use. The NeuV also comes with Honda Automated Network Assistant, or HANA, a personal and adaptive AI assistant. HANA will learn and adapt based on a driver’s emotions, decisions, and behaviors, offering new options and recommendations. Like some other vehicles at CES, Honda’s concept offers an electric skateboard to get from the parking spot to the final destination.
Honda’s Riding Assist Motorcycle uses robotics technology for self-leveling capabilities, meaning the bike can balance itself. Rather than heavy and cumbersome gyroscopes, this motorcycle uses technology poached from the Uni-Cub. Having ridden a Uni-Cub, I can say that after a bit of orientation the self-leveling tech works well.
Visa and Honda have created a working prototype that will allow mobile payments straight from a vehicle. Ford is working on similar technology with Sync that is set to roll out later this year. While Ford is working with specific vendors like ExxonMobil, Honda appears to have a broader reach with the Visa mashup.
While the most obvious mashup between computer animation and automobiles comes from Pixar, DreamWorks Animation and Honda are working on augmented and virtual reality in-car displays. A proof of concept is on display at Honda’s booth.