Honda, following the lead of rival automakers such as Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Nissan-Renault, is expanding it presence in Silicon Valley.
The Japanese automaker marked the opening of its new research and development center in Mountain View, California, near the heart of the tech corridor that stretches south from San Francisco and is the home of tech giants such Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, Intel and HP.
“As an industry, we are on the verge of some major transformational changes brought on by the convergence of what have been, to this point, largely disparate technology disciplines,” said Honda R&D Americas President Frank Paluch.
“Honda will embrace and help lead this convergence. Our operations in Silicon Valley are a testimony to our focus on this new direction in our product and technology development efforts,” Paluch said.
Honda also announced a new open innovation R&D initiative, Honda Xcelerator, which will provide resources to breakthrough technology innovators to develop prototypes of new technical features that could fit into vehicle.
The Xcelerator is expected to engage innovators and help them more rapidly commercialize promising new technologies. The program provides funding for proof-of-concept prototyping and the opportunity to work directly alongside Honda engineers in Silicon Valley in a collaborative workspace, as well as pairing with Honda mentors, according to representatives of the Japanese automaker.
The innovators will also have the opportunity to pitch their technologies to Honda business units globally once their prototypes are developed.
Honda’s opened its first office in Silicon Valley in 2000 and assigned it the task of researching and harnessing new ideas and technology. The current areas of focus include connected mobility, advanced human-machine interfaces and computer science research for vehicle intelligence.
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The engineers from Honda’ Silicon Valley center also work with Silicon Valley-based technology companies.
Utilizing technology created in Silicon Valley, the 2016 Accord will be the first Honda model and among the first high-volume cars in the marketplace to feature both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For model year 2016, the Accord will be equipped with an advance suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies.
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Honda also showed off some “Future Technology” including the demonstration of the ability for sensor fusion technology or the combination of disparate sensor data – to accurately detect and predict bicyclist and pedestrian movement from a significant distance.
An “Open Innovation” section included a novel demonstration of rear seat entertainment in a virtual reality world. The demo uses a virtual reality headset to transport passengers into a virtual world featuring Honda products on the land, sea and air.
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Honda R&D Americas, Inc. is responsible for creating advanced products and technologies that provide new value to Honda and Acura customers. It has major centers in California, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. It is also engaged in the development and testing of Honda and Acura automobiles, and Honda power sports and power equipment products.
One response to “Honda Moves West with Innovation Xcelerator”
Those in Biz who believe the West Coast is where all wonderful things happen have had a rude awakening many times. Mostly what comes from the West Coasts is fads and gimmicks with very short lifespans.