Honda took a different route to CES. Apart from showcasing a bunch of quirky concepts, the Japanese carmaker introduced Xcelerator at the CES stage. Honda Innovations, the Silicon Valley-based arm, shook hands with six tech start-ups with the aim of the betterment of future mobility solutions.
The six start-ups are BRAIQ, DeepMap, DynaOptics, EXO Technologies, Tactual Labs, and WayRay and belong to various parts of the world like Silicon Valley, New York, Canada, Europe, Israel and Singapore. Honda’s Xcelerator aims to serve as a catalyst to discover and experiment with new technologies and business concepts. The Xcelerator will provide funds and mentor support to the startup for prototyping and collaborative workspaces in the fields of artificial intelligence, connected vehicles, energy innovation, human-machine interface, industrial innovation, personal mobility, and robotics. The new technologies developed in collaboration aims to address future mobility solutions such as vehicle autonomy, HD mapping, safety optics, GPS localisation and driver experience enhancements.
Honda Innovations recently announced its expanded engagement of startup ecosystems in Japan, China, Detroit and Europe. Honda provides support to startups in key innovation hubs globally through its partnerships with incubators MassChallenge (Boston, Mass.) and Drive (Tel Aviv, Israel), and through the equity crowdfunding platform, OurCrowd (Jerusalem, Israel).
The startups in collaboration with Honda Innovations including New York-based BRAIQ are developing tech that bridges the gap between human preferences and artificial intelligence to personalise the autonomous car driving styles. DynaOptics is the Singapore-based startup that develops camera lenses for autonomous cars. These lenses are free-form optics and 50 per cent better than conventional ones.
Meanwhile, California’s DeepMap provides high-definition and real-time localisation as a service to autonomous vehicles. They use the cloud-based platform to enable the creation of three-dimensional (3D) HD maps for autonomous vehicles with Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy. Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, the EXO Technologies provides high-accuracy, low-cost GPS solutions concentrated towards self-driving cars. The Canadian start-up Tactual Labs works on real-time human body pose sensing. Their PRISMa technology could go a long way in developing gesture controls in the future vehicles. And lastly, the Swiss developer WayRay has a holographic augmented reality (AR) navigation system for cars.
Honda is also appealing further start-ups to apply for this unique Innovators programme at the CES stage.