CHICAGO – Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday it is talking to Waymo, the autonomous driving unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., to try to strike a deal that would put its self-driving technology into some of the Japanese automaker's cars. Both companies stressed that at this point the talks are about research, rather than full-production vehicles. If all goes well, Honda may provide Waymo with vehicles that are modified to run the self-driving system, and those cars would join the existing Waymo fleet currently being tested in four U.S. cities. Discussions with Honda underscore that Waymo wants to develop the brains behind self-driving vehicle technology rather than build the cars that use it. The talks also show that Waymo, the new name of Google's self-driving car project, is eager to work with more car companies as it races to rack up test miles with its autonomous-drive systems and prepare it for commercialization.
Honda R&D and Waymo are in discussion over self-driving car tech. Honda is in discussion with Google's autonomous vehicle division Waymo about integrating self-driving technology into Honda vehicles. Honda said the technical collaboration between researchers at its Honda R&D subsidiary and Waymo's self-driving technology team would allow both companies to learn about the integration of Waymo's fully self-driving sensors, software and computing platform into Honda vehicles. As part of the deal under discussion, Honda could provide Waymo with vehicles modified to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology. These vehicles would join Waymo's existing fleet, which are currently being tested across four US cities.
Japanese carmaker Honda spelled out for the first time its plans to develop autonomous cars which can drive on city streets by 2025, building on its strategy to take on rivals in the auto market of the future. Unveiling its mid-term Vision 2030 strategy plan, Honda said it would boost coordination between R&D, procurement and manufacturing to tame development costs as it acknowledged it must look beyond conventional vehicles to survive in an industry which is moving rapidly into electric and self-driving cars. The firm has already revealed plans to market a vehicle which can drive itself on highways by 2020, and the new target for city-capable self-driving cars puts its progress slightly behind rivals like BMW. At this time, the Japanese carmaker also said it will these vehicles will be equip with'level 4' standard automated driving functions. This means the cars can drive themselves on highways and city roads under most situations.
Visitors walk through a showroom of the Honda Motor Co. headquarters in Tokyo, Friday, April 28, 2017. Honda Motor Co. is reporting a 95.9 billion yen ($864 million) profit for January-March, a reversal from the 93.4 billion yen loss it racked up a year earlier, as the Japanese automaker recovers from costs for a massive air-bag recall.
Honda, which has lagged behind many of its rivals in developing self-driving vehicles, is paying $750 million upfront for the minority stake in Cruise and will invest another $2 billion over 12 years, the companies said on Wednesday. Honda, GM and Cruise will jointly develop self-driving vehicles for deployment in ride services fleets around the world.