Google self-driving car spin-off Waymo in talks with Honda

The Google self-driving car unit, now a standalone company called Waymo, has entered into formal talks with Honda to integrate Waymo’s technology into Honda vehicles, the Japanese auto firm announced Tuesday.

Honda indicated that it would embrace Google’s long-stated intent to put onto public roads completely autonomous vehicles, which don’t need human backup. Honda noted that it had said earlier it planned to put vehicles with some automated-driving capabilities onto highways around 2020. But then it added that “this technical collaboration with Waymo could allow Honda R&D to explore a different technological approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market.”

Honda’s announcement described the Waymo gear to be installed into Hondas as “fully self-driving sensors, software and computing platform.”

The autonomous Hondas would join Waymo’s fleet, which includes the bubble-shaped prototypes, Lexus SUVs and the recently added Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

If the firms reach a deal, Waymo engineers in Mountain View and Novi, Michigan (where Google opened an autonomous-vehicle development center earlier this year) would work closely with Silicon Valley-based Honda engineers, according to Honda.

Waymo, which Google spun off as a separate business Dec. 13, remains under the umbrella of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

 

Photo: A Google (now Waymo) self-driving car travels eastbound on San Antonio Road in October 2015 in Mountain View (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

 

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