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Google Waymo and Honda in talks on driverless cars

William Payne
January 5, 2017
 
Japanese car maker Honda and Google parent company Alphabet are in talks to develop self driving cars. The deal would see Waymo, Alphabet's recently set up autonomous vehicle subsidiary, and Honda work together to incorporate Google's self technology into Honda vehicles.

Honda said that it would not be abandoning its own self driving vehicles. Honda unveiled a prototype self driving car in June. The company has said that it hopes to launch a fully driverless car onto the market in four years' time.

Alphabet already has a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). This agreement has seen FCA supply Waymo with minivans fitted with Waymo driverless technology and sensors.

General Motors and Ford Motor have both tried striking deals with Google's self driving car unit. However, no deals were struck.

The collaboration between Waymo and Honda would initially be aimed at bringing together engineers and researchers from both companies to learn about the integration of Waymo's fully self-driving sensors, software and computing platform into Honda vehicles.

As part of the discussion on technical collaboration, Honda could initially provide Waymo with vehicles modified to accommodate Waymo's self-driving technology. These vehicles would join Waymo's existing fleet, which are currently being tested across four U.S. cities.

If both parties agree to enter into a formal agreement, Honda R&D engineers based in Silicon Valley, California and Tochigi, Japan, would work closely with Waymo engineers based in Mountain View, California and Novi, Michigan.

Honda previously announced its intention to put production vehicles with automated driving capabilities on highways sometime around 2020. 

In a statement, Honda said that the technical collaboration with Waymo could allow Honda R&D to explore a different technological approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market. 

According to Honda, these discussions are an initial step that will allow Waymo and Honda R&D to further explore the potential of a broad range of automated driving technologies.

Waymo said it was "looking forward to exploring opportunities to collaborate with Honda to advance fully self-driving technology and make our roads safer".