Honda Shows Autonomous ATVs at CES 2019

Honda has been knocking it out of the park with electric concepts at the Consumer Electronics Show the last few years, and last week’s CES 2019 was no different. Check out Honda’s latest high-tech mobility offering: a fully autonomous utility ATV.

It’s called the Autonomous Work Vehicle, and Honda is hoping that it will be employed by companies and government bodies like firefighters and police departments that routinely put people in harm’s way. The thinking being that, if there’s fewer people in harm’s way, fewer people will be harmed– and that’s an idea that could save both lives and (it has to be said) money by reducing the number of workman’s comp and disability claims these companies will have to carry.

 

Honda will show real-world testing scenarios of the Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle, a prototype off-road vehicle that is a combination of Honda’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and emerging advanced autonomous technology. It was designed by Honda R&D Americas to bring efficiencies and increased safety to public, commercial, and consumer enterprises, such as construction, agriculture, search and rescue and firefighting. The Autonomous Work Vehicle is based on Honda’s proven ATV chassis, which has a 30-year history of accessing hard-to-reach locations with its rugged four-wheel drive system. The vehicle 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.

Since the Autonomous Work Vehicle’s debut at CES 2018 under the name 3E-D18, Honda has worked with partners to beta-test and evaluate use cases in a broad array of work environments, including a large-scale solar operations company in North Carolina, a wildland firefighting division in Colorado, and an agricultural and environmental sciences college in California. As R&D efforts continue on the Autonomous Work Vehicle, Honda seeks to collaborate with partners to develop accessories and attachments that will expand the machine’s potential uses, businesses that may have a need for the vehicle, and autonomy technology and sensor developers to further improve the platform’s off-road autonomy.

Honda showed a few concept renderings along with their hardware showing the Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV?) clearing snow, going down a mine, and hauling concrete blocks across a construction site. I’m sure military applications are being considered/developed as well, which would be a first– Honda is one of the few automakers on Earth who has never built a war machine.

What do you guys think? Is the Honda AWV the wave of the future, or do too many people buy these things for “work” when they’re really for play? Take a look at the photos and video, below, then let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

 

Source | Images: Honda Global.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.