Despite the promise the new year brings, there’s one thing we probably won’t see in 2019: fully autonomous cars, even though seemingly every major tech and auto company is getting into the race. This now includes Honda, who just three months ago pledged $2 billion to a self-driving car partnership with GM.
While that may seem like an all-in sort of wager, Honda isn’t putting all of its self-driving eggs in one basket. On January 8th at the Consumer Electronics Show, they will be presenting an autonomous ATV. We repeat, Honda’s got an autonomous ATV.
Officially christened the Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle, it’s based on the company’s ATV chassis and "features GPS and sensor-based autonomy capable of guiding the unit in almost any environment; a rail accessory mount system for limitless accessories and attachments; and onboard power plug-ins.” While a concept technically debuted at last year’s CES trade show under the name 3E-D18, this past year it was put through trial by fire — literally.
Honda beta tested the AWV in three different scenarios: mowing at a solar farm, spraying and carrying crops at an agricultural college, and hauling gear for a wildland firefighting division. But other potential applications include search and rescue, construction and snow removal.
Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle (6 images)
The keyword there is “potential.” Since it’s the purview of Honda R&D Americas (that is, their research and development arm) this is still in the prototype phase. And as CES is still a trade show, though it’s become more of a social media launchpad, Honda is less concerned with consumer interest than business interest.
"Honda is looking for additional partners to evolve the technology and develop attachments or accessories that will expand the potential uses for the Autonomous Work Vehicle,” said Pete Wendt, senior planner in Advanced Product Planning at Honda R&D Americas.
So all you snow blowers and lawn mowers can rest easy tonight. Your jobs are safe, for another few months at least.
All images courtesy of Honda Motor Co.