Honda details autonomous test program at Navy base
Honda’s has showcased its ongoing autonomous test program at GoMentum Station, a decommissioned zone within the Concord Naval Weapons Station in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Photos show Honda’s second-generation autonomous prototype, based on the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, as it approaches mannequin pedestrians. The car has been outfitted with a new suite of radar and Lidar sensors, multiple cameras and higher-performance CPUs and GPUs, allowing it to better detect such obstacles and quickly make proper piloting decisions.
GoMentum Station boasts 20 miles of paved roadway spread across 5,000 acres, all closed to the public and dedicated to autonomous vehicle testing. Its city-like grids, buildings and other aging urban infrastructure provide a realistic environment to perform tests and refine software algorithms.
Automakers can also use the site to test vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications systems. Honda has used its latest announcement to call for additional spectrum allocations, allegedly necessary for such technologies to be put into production.
“[Dedicated Short-Range Communications]-enabled vehicles can make the nation’s roads safer for all users, including pedestrians,” said Honda North America government affairs VP Edward Cohen. “To accomplish the goal of enhancing road user safety, we need the support of policymakers to preserve 5.9 GHz radio spectrum.”
With our without the spectrum allocations, Honda promises to launch more advanced autonomous systems on its production vehicles by the end of the decade. The features will initially focus on highway driving, while fully autonomous operation in urban environments presumably requires a few more years of prototype development.