Launched on the CES show floor in Las Vegas, Honda debuted a host of new mobility solutions that will likely be seen on Honda products in the coming years, including a self-stabilizing motorcycle, new AI gizmos that improve self-driving systems for automobiles, and a personal mobility device that allows the rider to sit on a self-balancing piece of technology to help people get around. The future is here, at least somewhat.
The first introduction is Honda's new Riding Assist Motorcycle, which unlike other self-balancing motorcycles, doesn't rely on gyroscopes to provide a stable ride. Rather, Honda decided that the gyros were too heavy and created an odd experience for routine motorcycle riders. Instead, Honda relied on incorporated technology based on the company's UNI-CUB personal mobility device which balances by adjusting the lean in the direction of travel and increasing the front fork angle while using small steering inputs to keep the motorcycle centered.
Secondly, Honda debuted its NeuV automobile. Pronounced "new-V," the name stands for New Electric Urban Vehicle, and the concept is what Honda thinks the future of automobiles will likely be. Based on the idea that most privately owned automobiles sit idle 96 percent of their life, the NeuV "explores the idea of how to create new value for its owner by functioning as an automated ride sharing vehicle, picking up and dropping off customers at local destinations when the owner is not using the car." This would thereby enable the owner to make money when they're at work.
"We designed NeuV to become more valuable to the owner by optimizing and monetizing the vehicle's down time," said Mike Tsay, principal designer, Honda R&D Americas.
However, that isn't the only interesting function on the NeuV. According to Honda, the NeuV uses an AI assistant with an "emotion engine" called HANA (Honda Automated Network Assistant). HANA uses a suite of sensors and cameras to detect the driver and passenger's emotions and try to understand their judgments and past decisions to help them make better choices and recommendations. Essentially, HANA is your always watchful mother, making sure you live up to your potential. Toyota debuted a concept with a similarly friendly AI system at CES.
The NeuV also features a massive touch panel display that lets both driver and passengers interact with the car's systems and access the web. It additionally has two seats with a small storage space in the back that also contains an electric skateboard for what Honda calls "last mile" transit. The concept also doesn't appear to have a roof, windows, doors, or a windshield, making it more like an open Jeep that's also a city runabout.
Honda's NeuV is powered by a 55-kW motor and can go between 100-200 miles per charge. Being CES concepts, these vehicles may never see production. However, we're very likely to see technology based on these concepts trickling down to production vehicles in the near future, especially in the coming decade as automakers increase their spending on autonomous technology and artificial intelligence.