Honda will kick start a testing program for autonomous vehicles this month (September 2021) as a key step toward its ambition of operating an AV mobility service (MaaS) business in Japan, which it is planning to launch in collaboration with Cruise and General Motors.
The AV and MaaS technologies testing program will be conducted in Utsunomiya City and Haga Town, Tochigi Prefecture.
As the first step to prepare for thorough testing, a high-definition map of the area will be created using a specialized vehicle for mapping. Once the high-definition map is ready, a Cruise AV will be driven on public roads to develop and test how AVs adapt to the traffic environment and relevant laws and regulations in Japan.
Honda and Cruise will jointly work on the testing program, which will also see a new operations test site established within a Honda facility in Tochigi Prefecture.
Further ahead, Honda aims to launch its AV MaaS business in Japan using the Cruise Origin, a vehicle jointly developed by Honda, Cruise and General Motors, exclusively for autonomous vehicle mobility service businesses. Honda Mobility Solutions Co, a Honda subsidiary for MaaS business, will be the operator of this business in Japan, according to the company.