Honda has revealed that it is engaged in formal discussions with Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet, to integrate the technology into its automobiles.
If the talks result in an agreement, Honda will become the second major partner for Alphabet's Waymo after Fiat Chrysler.
Honda And Waymo In Talks For A Self-Driving Tech Partnership
Honda announced the ongoing talks with Waymo through a press release, wherein the company also said that the proposed technical collaboration between the two companies will allow them to further look into the integration of Waymo's self-driving platform, including its sensors and software, into Honda vehicles.
The focus of the pending partnership is on research regarding self-driving technology, not yet a plan to launch full production Honda cars that will be powered by Waymo's autonomous driving platform.
Among the details of the planned collaboration include the delivery of Honda vehicles to Waymo that will be modified to integrate the self-driving technology. These vehicles will then be added to Waymo's current fleet of self-driving cars, which are being tested across four cities in the United States.
Honda's Self-Driving Car Initiatives
Over a year ago, Honda announced that it has started working on its own self-driving vehicle, with a plan to release a car with limited self-driving capabilities into public roads by 2020, the same year that other Japanese automobile manufacturers Nissan and Toyota said they would.
The partnership with Waymo would free up a significant amount of valuable resources for Honda, claims AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan. In addition, the collaboration would result in the release of a fully self-driving car in 2020 and not one with limited capabilities.
The Direction of Alphabet's Waymo
The proposed partnership with Honda reveals more about the direction that Waymo is heading for its self-driving technology, with the Alphabet unit looking to develop the platform in partnership with automobile manufacturers instead of building the vehicles that will use the technology itself.
It was reported last week that Google's self-driving car project lowered its goals, with the plan to release a vehicle with no steering wheel and no pedals placed on hold as the team settles for a more practical approach of teaming up with automobile manufacturers for the technology.
The project then later became a standalone unit under Google parent Alphabet and renamed into Waymo. Earlier in the week, the unit offered a first look at the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, which were developed in collaboration with its first major partner, Fiat Chrysler.