Honda's driverless vehicle program has expanded onto a re-purposed naval base in the San Francisco Bay Area. Testing at the "GoMentum Station" alongside Mercedes-Benz, Honda will join a consortium to make the 5,000-acre site the world's lead test track for automated driving.
GoMentum, previously known as the Concord Naval Weapons Station, is optimal for supporting the research and development efforts of Honda and its driverless vehicles, according to Paul Cummings, a spokesman for Honda Research Institute USA. The facility and testing environment can be manipulated to simulate the conditions that driverless vehicles will face on public roads.
"This program will bring a new level of robustness to Honda's industry-leading efforts in the area of automated and connected vehicle technology," said Cummings.
Honda has the committed support of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, according to the board's executive director, Randy Iwasaki. Contra Costa is excited to partner with Honda as it prepares to officially launch the GoMentum Station, he said.
"Their impressive study of automated and connected vehicle technology will help us accelerate the next generation of transportation infrastructure that will make the future of driving safer around the world," said Iwasaki.
Honda has made huge strides in the emerging sector of driverless vehicles, introducing several compelling technologies in fall of 2014. At that time, Honda was showcasing cars capable of merging into highway traffic and vehicles that could assist distressed drivers with "virtual tow" capabilities.
In what Honda calls its "pursuit of a collision-free society," the company also pointed out that it has been taking incremental steps to fully autonomous vehicles. Honda has been developing and improving several features for its driver assistive vehicles as it cruises toward its goal of driverless cars.
In addition to its work with Contra Costa and the GoMentum facility, Honda is also partnering with the University of Michigan. The university is prepping a facility called M City, which will be similar to GoMentum.
M City will give researchers the ability to thoroughly try out new approaches in driverless vehicle technology in an environment that is realistic, controlled and safe, said Peter Sweatman, director of the university's Mobility Transformation Center.
"Connected and automated vehicle technology will usher in a revolution in the mobility of people and goods comparable to that sparked by the introduction of the automobile a century ago," said Sweatman.