Honda has been relatively quiet lately, which is surprising for a company with as many divisions as it has. It sometimes feels as though we would require a dozen writers to keep up with all of the press releases. Today, we would best spend our time on a mini-roundup of the (insert dramatic voice) World of Honda! Our team has a bit about the Fit and a little more about … Okay, no rhyme comes to mind with “autonomous drive.” Let’s get to it…
The Fit Gets Fitter
After the 2015 Honda Fit didn’t rock the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) safety test, the Japanese automaker returned to the table for a few updated engineering designs. Thanks to that diligent work, the next generation Fit earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the very IIHS that gave the company a wag of the finger the first time around.
With a strengthened bumper, the Fit gave a laudable performance in the tough small-overlap test, which measures the car frame’s integrity and any injuries sustain by a dummy in the driver’s seat after crashing into a rigid barrier at 40 MPH.
Holy Shhhhhnikies … That Car Is Driving Itself
Pardon us for our Tommy Boy reference, but we’re certain that’s what Tommy Callihan would say if he witnessed Honda’s demonstration of its autonomously driven car.
Yes, Honda has been working on this technology for a year, but the company emphasizes that it’s truly the result of decades of safety research and dedication to the idea that autonomy is possible for vehicles. The demonstration occurred this past Tuesday with a modified Acura RLX.
“Honda is aiming to eliminate accidents, not just for the driver but for the pedestrians and rivers of other cars,” said the car’s chief engineer, Hironobu Kiryu.
The autonomous feature is guided by cameras that monitor lane markings, multiple sensors around the car, and a beacon that continually scans surroundings. All of these work synergistically to keep the vehicle safe, as well as follow mapped routes and obey speed limits. During the demonstration, the driver took his hands off the wheel and allowed the RLX to accelerate and brake when necessary. It merged with easy onto other freeways and edged to the left in order to avoid a construction zone.
Honda says that the car will automatically return control to the driver if it senses that conditions are too difficult for its sensors to handle.
Though it was just a prototype, the company says the technology could make its debut in 2020 models.