Honda is under discussions with Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, to create an alliance. This partnership would allow the integration of Waymo self-driving technology into Honda vehicles.

According to Honda, this would be a technical collaboration that will permit both companies to learn about Waymo’s fully self-driving sensors, software, and computing platform into Honda vehicles. Honda would also provide Waymo with modified vehicles.

The Waymo driverless car is displayed during a Google event earlier this month in San Francisco. Image Credit: Eric Risberg/Associated Press

“These discussions are an initial step that will allow Waymo and Honda R&D to further explore the potential of a broad range of automated driving technologies,” Honda said.

A self-driving vehicle partnership

Honda Motors is a Japanese corporation known for manufacturing cars, motorcycles, and equipment. It is the eighth biggest automobile manufacturer in the world. Currently, one of the goals set by Honda is to develop self-driving cars and achieve collision-free roads. In 2013, Honda invested about $6.8 billion in research and development.

To attain its goals, Honda has decided to start conversations with Alphabet’s Waymo, which is the autonomous car developer of the company. Waymo began in 2009, as a project under Google. In 2015 it made its first driverless ride on public roads, with a sole blind man on board in Austin, Texas. After seven years as a part of Google’s research unit, it was launched a few months ago as an independent business under Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Waymo’s objective, according to its executive John Krafcik, is to make self-driving cars available to the public in 2020. Honda has also announced it has plans to deliver self-driving cars by 2020, which could lead to a great partnership since both companies have the same visions regarding self-driving cars.

Honda wants the technology of Waymo to integrate into its new vehicles. The Japanese conglomerate said that this alliance is beneficial for both companies since they can learn how the software and computing platform developed by Waymo works in Honda’s vehicles.

Honda R&D engineers based in Silicon Valley, California, and Tochigi, Japan are eager to work with Waymo engineers located in Mountain View, California, and Novi, Michigan.

Waymo reveals a fully autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Image Credit: Courtesy of Waymo

It will not be an exclusive partnership

As part of the deal, Honda would provide Waymo with modified cars to set up Waymo’s self-driving technology. These cars would be incorporated into Waymo’s already existing fleet, which is being tested in four cities of the United States.

It is important to understand that the discussion of the alliance is taking place at the moment, it is not definitive. As well, it is important to consider that it will not be an exclusive agreement. Waymos revealed that its first 100 cars would be modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids.

Honda also stated that a future partnership with Waymo would permit Honda R&D to explore different technological approaches so they can meet the goal of launching fully autonomous cars to the market by 2020.

The last months have been very dynamic for Waymo, not only it became an independent company from Google, under Alphabet. It also decided that it would stop the development of its vehicle focusing on making partnerships with automakers to develop autonomous cars.

Source: ZD Net