Honda Chief Details Automated and Electrified Vehicle Goals In Company’s 2030 Vision

Today Honda Motor Co.’s chief laid out the global automaker’s plan for automated driving and electrification technologies.

President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo spoke at the June 8 Tokyo-time press meeting on the company’s 2030 Vision. A central theme for this year’s corporate mission is the advancement of mobility that will enable customers to improve their daily lives, he said.

Autonomous vehicle systems will be an integral part of moving mobility services forward. That will start with bringing SAE Level 3 functions to Honda and Acura vehicles by 2020, and Level 4 capabilities by 2025.

For 2020, Honda and Acura models will receive highly-automated freeway driving capability. Reaching Level 4 by 2025 will allow the driver to intervene as needed, such as bad weather conditions. SAE’s rating system goes up to Level 5 for full automation.

Members of the media were also taken to a test drive given by Honda R&D Co. They took rides in a Honda Accord equipped with the latest technology to drive through several complex driving scenarios.

Honda is adding artificial intelligence (AI) functions with Deep Learning capability to its automated system. Deep Learning technology can sense and respond to complex driving environments without the use of Lidar or GPS, Honda said. It uses accumulated experience stored in the vehicle’s data to predict outcomes and take appropriate action to ensure safe driving.

“We will strive to achieve the technological establishment of Level 4 automated driving for personal car use by around 2025,” Hachigo said. “We are striving to provide our customers with a sense of confidence and trust by offering automated driving that will keep vehicles away from any dangerous situation and that will not make people around the vehicle feel unsafe.”

Hachigo reiterated the Japanese automaker’s commitment to electrify two-thirds of global automobile unit sales in 2030. The company had announced that goal in February 2016.

New to this year is a commitment to strengthen development of battery electric vehicles in addition to fuel cell vehicles. In addition to a previously announced EV made for the China market by 2018, a dedicated EV model for other global regions is currently being developed.

The new global EV model will be introduced at a fall auto show, Hachigo said.

The company was concerned about speeding up the development process to launch more Honda EVs. Last year in October, the company established a new section under Honda R&D, called Electric Vehicle Development Division.

The new division has been given a specialized team in charge of all aspects of the vehicle, including the powertrain and body, he said.

Honda remains committed to hybrid-based models, as well. Some of the development projects will include what the chief officer describes as a “high-efficiency plug-in hybrid system unique to Honda.”

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