Honda introduces “Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem” at CES 2017; Honda Riding Assist, NeuV concept w/ AI emotion engine
Honda unveiled its Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem concept at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, connecting artificial intelligence, robotics and big data to transform the mobility experience of the future. Featuring a number of prototype and concept technology demonstrations at CES, the Honda concept envisions a future in which vehicles will communicate with each other and infrastructure to mitigate traffic congestion and eliminate traffic fatalities, while increasing the productivity of road users and delivering new types of in-vehicle entertainment experiences. Vehicles will create new value by autonomously providing services when not in use by their owners.
Honda also announced collaborations with Visa, DreamWorks Animation and start-ups through the Honda Developer Studio and Honda Xcelerator open innovation programs based out of Honda Silicon Valley Lab. Further, as part of its effort to accelerate open innovation, Honda has established a new URL for areas including AI, Big Data and Robotics. Interested companies and individuals can access the following URL: http://www.honda.co.jp/openinnovation/.
Supporting its Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem theme, Honda introduced the Honda NeuV, an electric automated mini-vehicle concept equipped with an artificial intelligence (AI) ”emotion engine” (earlier post) and automated personal assistant, creating new possibilities for human interaction and new value for customers.
The NeuV (pronounced “new-v”), which stands for New Electric Urban Vehicle, is a concept vehicle whose genesis is based on the fact that privately-owned vehicles sit idle 96% of the time. The NeuV explores the idea of how to create new value for its owner by functioning as an automated ride sharing vehicle, picking up and dropping off customers at local destinations when the owner is not using the car. The NeuV also can sell energy back to the electric grid during times of high demand when it’s not in use. These activities have the potential to create a new business model for enterprising customers.
NeuV also functions as a thoughtful and helpful AI assistant utilizing an emotion engine, an emerging technology developed by Honda and SoftBank (cocoro SB Corp.). Called HANA (Honda Automated Network Assistant), in its application in the NeuV, the emotion engine will learn from the driver by detecting the emotions behind the driver’s judgments and then, based on the driver’s past decisions, make new choices and recommendations. HANA can check on the driver’s emotional well-being, make music recommendations based on mood, and support the owner’s daily driving routine.
The NeuV features a full touch panel interface enabling both the driver and passenger to access a simple and convenient user experience. The vehicle has two seats, a storage area in back, and an electric skateboard for last mile transit. The NeuV also features outstanding outward visibility via a headerless windshield and a dramatically sloping belt line that make maneuvering easy.
The company also introduced Honda Riding Assist, a concept motorcycle that applies Honda’s robotics technology to maintain balance. Rather than relying on gyroscopes, which add a great deal of weight and alter the riding experience as announced by other companies, the Honda Riding Assist motorcycle incorporates technology originally developed for the company’s UNI-CUB personal mobility device (also on display at CES).
The Honda UNI-CUB display enables CES attendees to experience a self-balancing personal mobility device that enables the seated rider to control speed, move in any direction and stop, all by simply shifting body weight. Earlier this year, the company opened the UNI-CUB’s API seeking to facilitate the creation of software that can control the device from a smartphone and other devices, which would provide the potential to expand its value and functionality for people. This expands upon the UNI-CUB’s original system, which currently allows the seated rider to control speed, move in any direction and stop, all by simply shifting body weight. With the ability to freely move forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, UNI-CUB can quickly and easily maneuver among people.
Safe Swarm for cooperative vehicle operation. At CES, Honda also launched its “Safe Swarm” concept, which utilizes bio-mimicry—specifically, replicating the behavior of a school of fish—to create a safer, more efficient and enjoyable driving experience. The Honda Safe Swarm demonstration immerses visitors in a world where vehicles sharing the road communicate with one another using dedicated short range communication (DSRC) to support the driver in negotiating complex driving situations. The Safe Swarm concept enables vehicles to operate cooperatively, enabling more efficient, low-stress and, ultimately, collision-free mobility.
The autonomous age has dawned, and Honda, like all automakers, is working to refine and advance this technology to achieve our goal for a collision-free society in the 2040 timeframe. Using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and drawing upon big data and artificial intelligence, Honda will work with others to create an environment in which road conditions are predicted and managed, and collisions avoided.—Frank Paluch, president, Honda R&D Americas
Open Innovation and Collaboration. Continuing its pursuit of open innovation and collaboration, Honda also announced initiatives with entrepreneurs, startups and global tech brands via the Honda Silicon Valley Lab.
Visa. Building on their mobile payment collaboration at last year’s Mobile World Congress, Honda is conducting two proof-of-concept demonstrations at CES created through its partnership with Visa. These demonstrations will be the first conducted with infrastructure partners Gilbarco Veeder-Root (fuel pumps) and IPS Group (smart parking meters). The demos will showcase the simplicity and convenience when paying for services such as gasoline purchases and public parking from the comfort and safety of a vehicle.
Drivers are notified that they can pay for fuel or parking when they are near a smart parking meter or fuel pump. Depending on the services, the purchase amount is displayed in the dashboard and drivers confirm payment with the touch of a button. Honda is currently in discussion with a number of other companies that will continue to help ease the various innovative payment processes of other car-based transactions.
DreamWorks Animation. Honda has teamed with DreamWorks Animation to develop new cross-platform, augmented- and virtual reality-content and solutions for the in-vehicle experience. Honda is demonstrating a proof of concept version of its Honda Dream Drive in-car virtual reality prototype featuring exclusive DreamWorks Animation content at CES.
VocalZoom Optical Sensor Technology. VocalZoom is a leading supplier of Human to Machine Communication (HMC) optical sensors that enable a more natural, personalized and secure voice-control experience and has been working with Honda Xcelerator to apply its technology to the in-car experience.
Through its Silicon Valley Honda Xcelerator incubator program, Honda is working with VocalZoom to apply the company’s Human to Machine (HMC) optical sensor technology to the creation of a safer, more satisfying in-car voice-control experience. By reading physical facial skin vibrations as people speak, the VocalZoom sensor isolates their words from other voices and noise in the background. This enables automotive voice recognition systems to perform far more accurate than has been possible with traditional speech-recognition solutions. VocalZoom’s optical sensor has the potential to deliver seamless, near-perfect voice-control performance even in a noisy in-cabin environment.
LEIA 3D Driver Display. LEIA is a technology spin-off of HP Labs and a provider of the leading holographic display solution for mobile. The LEIA 3D display provides a comfortable, natural form of 3D that is easier to look at, which is important for the in-car experience. It also gives designers and developers a new tool for building a more appealing user experience.
Through a Honda Xcelerator collaboration with LEIA, Honda has developed a new driver’s display concept that uses LEIA’s nano technology to provide three-dimensional images, providing seamless transitions between different viewing angles for warnings and driver-assistive systems. Although 3D can be distracting if it isn’t designed correctly, the LEIAÆs nanotech approach presents depth in a way that feels natural. Honda sees a number of potential applications for this technology, from navigation to traffic information.