Honda plans to spend $ 45 billion on robots, flying cars and rockets
Honda wants to do everything to make the future more like real science fiction.
(Photo: PRAKASH SINGH / AFP via Getty Images)
Honda’s ‘Ashimo’ robot shows off its skills while dancing to a Bollywood tune at Auto Expo 2016, in Greater Noida, about 45 km east of New Delhi on February 4, 2016. The flagship auto show of the India has opened in New Delhi with a new batch of diesel – the greedy SUVs are proudly on display, despite industry uncertainty over a crackdown on pollution targeting motorists in the capital. Over 80 vehicle launches were expected at Auto Expo 2016, the largest edition in the show’s 30-year history, with the Fiat Chrysler-owned Jeep making its India debut and hoping to capitalize on the popularity of sport utility vehicles.
According to a report by The edge, the auto giant plans to spend $ 45 billion over the next six years on research and development, focusing on the development of futuristic machines such as robots, advanced rockets and even flying cars.
However, Honda has not really clarified what percentages of this huge budget will be spent on the three technology elements.
They also did not disclose whether they plan to turn these projects into full-fledged business ventures.
In fact, the company has even claimed that it sees its plans as some kind of extension of its current business: car manufacturing.
According to the head of corporate communications, Marcos Frommer, these so-called “core technologies” are connected to Honda’s existing activities. He also said the company plans to further develop these areas to expand its core business as an automobile manufacturer.
Seeing Honda continuing to research and develop these technologies is not unusual. They could realistically use the technology they are developing to make electric vehicles, for example. And that would be right in their back alley, since the company has pledged to phase out gasoline-powered cars by 2040, reported The edge.
However, it is still unclear whether they plan to directly challenge current industry giants such as Tesla.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Honda has taken an interest in developing technology that isn’t too much related to car manufacturing.
On the one hand, they are famous for the development of the humanoid robot Asimo, although they already ended the project three years ago, according to EFE.
Read also: Verizon and Honda Partner to Develop Safe Driving Measures Using 5G and Mobile Computing
Honda flying cars: what could they have?
Since they have made it clear that they only want to continue this $ 45 billion R&D project to improve their automotive manufacturing technology, it makes sense to look at this investment from that angle.
First of all, the flying cars.
These cars, also known as electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airplanes, could very well achieve what sci-fi writers have dreamed of for decades.
In fact, Honda has expressed a desire to use these cars as part of a futuristic city taxi service.
(Photo: TOLGA AKMEN / AFP via Getty Images)
A man poses next to screens showcasing the Rolls-Royce EVTOL air taxi concept at the Farnborough Airshow, southwest London, July 16, 2018. – British engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce announced its intention this week to develop a hybrid electric vehicle, nicknamed the “flying taxi”, which takes off and lands vertically and could take off within five years.
However, unlike most eVTOL startups these days, Honda’s flying cars will be hybrids. In other words, they will not be purely electric, as purely battery-powered flying cars have a very limited range.
They plan to increase the electrical components of these vehicles with gas turbines to improve their range from “several tens of kilometers” to at least 250 miles.
In addition, there is also a good chance that these aerial vehicles will feature some kind of operating system, like the Google Android automatic interface that they plan to install in their 2022 car models.
What about robots and rockets?
Asimo may have been Honda’s latest foray into creating humanoid robots, but they plan to build them a little differently this time around.
Instead of making stand-alone machines, they want to allow humans to “pilot” robots using a combination of a VR visor and gloves.
Finally, their next work on propulsion technology is aimed at designing reusable rockets, which the automaker actually started working on two years ago.
According to Frommer, the company intends to use these rockets to send small satellites into low Earth orbit, where they could expect to evolve their technology into connected services.
Related: Honda, Toyota call on Democrats to exclude non-union workers from proposed electric vehicle tax credit
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Written by RJ Pierce
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