Honda is working on an EV that incorporates autonomous parking and wireless charging. The experimental vehicle, which is undergoing testing at a demonstration house outside Tokyo, can drive itself into a carport and position itself over a wireless charging pad. The human driver uses a smartphone to tell the car to park and initiate charging. An array of cameras installed in the vehicle and the house keeps watch for any obstacles.
Honda’s chief researcher for the project, Kazuhisa Sato, says the system would be convenient for drivers who have trouble parking. Further testing will investigate the technology’s performance in storms, heavy snow and other extreme conditions.
Honda has been researching robotic technology since the 1980s. In April, the company’s cute little humanoid robot, Asimo, chatted in English with President Obama, then ran, jumped and kicked a soccer ball. Asimo is the product of three decades of work in image processing, voice recognition and artificial intelligence, and Honda says it can apply much of that knowledge to driverless cars.
“Cars until now have had only rudimentary recognition and judgment abilities. The strength of robots is they can work out really sophisticated reactions,” said Honda engineer Hiroshi Kawagishi. “If we can apply this kind of sophistication on cars, we could come up with something completely different.”