January 05, 2017 — Las Vegas, Nevada.
Remarks by Frank Paluch, President, Honda R&D Americas, Inc. and Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, President and CEO, Honda R&D Co Ltd.
Happy New Year and welcome to the Honda display at CES. Cooperation is at the heart of CES. It’s why we’re excited to be starting the year off among the world’s top tech influencers, who come together here in Vegas to share ideas, find new ways to collaborate, and, in turn, change the world in which we live.
In a few minutes, you’ll hear from our global R&D president about a direction we’re calling the “Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem.” But first I want to highlight a few of our technology themes.
Like all of you, we’re here to help shape the future direction of technology which includes radically re-thinking the mobility experience based on our goal to create something new that advances mobility making people’s lives better. Robotics, AI, and big data are central to this experience, as is a culture of open innovation and collaboration.
It is this nexus of transformative technologies and open innovation that forms Honda’s Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem where vehicles will communicate with one another – as well as with infrastructure – to mitigate traffic congestion, and ultimately, eliminate traffic fatalities.
In this new ecosystem, everyone using the road will experience increased productivity, and a more enjoyable journey. New models will emerge in which your own car can earn you money even when you’re not in the vehicle.
The autonomous age has dawned, and Honda, like all automakers, is constantly refining and advancing this technology. Automated vehicle technology is not just about realizing the automated driving function. It is crucial for improving advanced driver assistance and active safety such as collision avoidance.
Today, we’re showing one pathway toward this goal. It’s a concept we call Safe Swarm. Drawing on biomimicry, Safe Swarm is innovation inspired by nature looking for clues in the natural world to solve challenges we have created for ourselves.
By using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications drawing upon cloud-based big data and employing artificial intelligence for decision making, we are working with others to create an environment in which road conditions are predicted, managed and problems are avoided. Merging into traffic will become seamless, and traffic jams will be mitigated by coordination among everyone using the road.
Of course, this ecosystem is not something Honda can create alone. Again, this is why we’re here at CES. This challenge requires the cooperation of industries; local, state, and federal government and individuals. Toward this kind of advanced collaboration, we’re already beginning to plan for the first real world application of V2V and V2I technology – right in our own backyard.
Last year, Honda announced its participation in the Smart City program in Columbus, Ohio and the US 33 Intelligent Corridor project. These federal and state funded projects in Ohio will give us an opportunity to study and participate in the development of vehicle to infrastructure communications and this can enhance the safety and efficiency of our nation’s highway systems.
But making our roads safer and reducing driver workload is just one part of our vision for a Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem. By reaching outside the auto industry, even as we collaborate within it, we’re developing technologies that will enhance the mobility experience, and make it more accessible and enjoyable.
As one example, we are set to debut a new Honda-specific Android based operating system in a new Honda vehicle developed with Wind River. This new operating system is the basis for future HMI integration in our products, providing us a more efficient path forward for the creation of very intuitive and intelligent connected systems. And it demonstrates that we are open for innovation partnership, particularly in the realm of software.
This convergence of auto and tech has put Silicon Valley at the forefront of mobility innovation, which is why Honda established its own Silicon Valley lab to collaborate with entrepreneurs, startups, and global tech companies.
In the past several years, we announced two initiatives to further these strategic alliances, the Honda Xcelerator and the Honda Developer Studio. Honda Xcelerator is working with startups and entrepreneurs to bring to market new in-vehicle technologies that support the driving experience. Two great examples of this are Vocal Zoom and LEIA 3D, companies we are showcasing here at CES.
One of the big challenges with today’s infotainment systems is the ability of onboard computers to understand the driver’s voice commands. Current acoustic microphones listen to everything in the car, including ambient noise. But through its optical microphone it can actually interpret the physical vibrations generated by a speaker’s voice. Then Vocal Zoom can separate the speaker’s voice from the ambient sound to improve the accuracy of voice commands.
And with LEIA 3D we have collaborated to develop a prototype for a new driver-display meter that can provide seamless transitions between different viewing angles for warnings and driver-assistive systems. 3D is tricky and if designed incorrectly, it can be distracting.
But with LEIA’s nano-technology approach, when you move your head while looking at the screen, the perspective subtly adjusts in a way that feels natural. From navigation to traffic information, we see a number of potential applications for LEIA 3D.
To enhance the in-vehicle experience even further finding new ways to deliver information and entertainment, Honda Developer Studio is also partnering with global tech giants.
A year ago, at the 2016 Mobile World Congress, we demonstrated a proof-of-concept, in-vehicle mobile payment system in partnership with Visa that will make a range of in-car transactions as easy as touching a button.
Today, we’re taking the next step. Together with two infrastructure partners, Gilbarco Veeder-Root and IPS Group, Honda will showcase the convenience that will be available to consumers to pay for gasoline and street parking from the comfort and safety of their vehicles. And we’re now talking with a number of other companies with the potential to add a variety of other mobile transactions.
Another project of the Honda Developer Studio is a lot of fun for the passengers in the vehicle. Honda Dream Drive uses a VR headset to immerse passengers in a virtual reality world triggered by the motion of the vehicle. And today, I am excited to announce that our content partner for the proof of concept version of Dream Drive is DreamWorks Animation.
DreamWorks has provided content from its recent animated movie Trolls that you can experience on the show floor today. We’re excited about the possibilities for further collaboration in the area of in-vehicle entertainment.
Of course, the idea of collaboration isn’t new to us. We also partnered with the Ohio State University several years ago to create our own driving simulator. This simulator enables us to refine our HMI and driver distraction protocols. We’re employing these scenarios already as we move toward higher levels of autonomous driving.
This simulator will assist us in building driver confidence along with the emotional connection needed when we combine augmented reality displays and driver interaction demands.
As Honda’s largest R&D operation outside of Japan, we’re working on a broad range of technology themes. All of these initiatives ultimately support our goal to create something new that advances mobility and makes people’s lives better.
Now, to explain more about our pursuit of a Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem, please welcome our president of Global Honda R&D, my boss, Mr. Matsumoto.