The self-balancing bike wasn’t the only piece of interesting tech launched in Las Vegas this week.
Voice commands, self-balancing mobility robots and innovative display designs were all shown alongside the Honda Riding Assist motorcycle in Las Vegas this week, but the real message of Honda’s CES 2017 showing was the interconnectedness of the offerings.
Whilst many companies tease Artificial Intelligence, Honda with their research and development divisions have taken the wraps off of their ‘Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem’ and begun talking about a future that promises vehicles communicating with each other – and the traffic infrastructure around them – in order to help with traffic congestion and to preempt and prevent road traffic accidents before they even occur.
The Honda Riding Assist motorcycle was just part of the reveal – on upon which most of the motorcycle press naturally picked up on – but it’s this intercommunication between vehicles that Honda believe will truly revolutionise our roads.
Back in late 2015, Honda, Yamaha and BMW all joined forces to launch their ‘Connected Motorcycle Consortium’, an attempt at increasing development towards motorcycles within the Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) protocol.
There are lot’s of acronyms to be learnt when it comes to these type of programmes, but in essence these are the frameworks that countries and companies help develop and work within when developing systems that are intended to work throughout the world and across various industries.
As part of the CES reveal, perhaps the most important announcement for Honda was that of their ‘NeuV’ Urban Vehicle concept.
As a self-driving, ride-sharing vehicle, the NeuV is positioned as an automated machine that treats potential drivers as customers and is built to be shared amongst several ‘riders’ – hopping from rider to rider when it would usually be sitting idle.
And it’s here that the A.I. begins to drip out from the interconnectedness of the cars and bikes from the road and into the cabin, as an ’emotion engine’ detects the driver’s mood and judgement – assuming that they’re even bothering to control the car at all – and uses the learnings from this behaviour to make changes to the vehicles dynamics, ride styles and even musical suggestions to help settle the ‘mood’.
None of which sounds like anything that we’ll be looking forward to whilst actually riding a motorcycle, but when combined with their ‘Safe Swarm’ technology – which attempts to replicate the behaviours seen in schools of fish – to coral and contain mass movements of traffic using the ‘connected’ systems that we’ve mentioned before, and the advantages to all road users, and not just four-wheeled ones, are very clear to see. Just ask Frank Paluch, president of Honda R&D for the Americas,
“The autonomous age has dawned, and Honda, like all automakers, is working to refine and advance this technology to achieve our goal for a collision-free society in the 2040 timeframe,”
“Using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and drawing upon big data and artificial intelligence, Honda will work with others to create an environment in which road conditions are predicted and managed, and collisions avoided.”