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Honda Tests Prototype Autonomous Work Vehicle at Solar Construction Site with Black & Veatch

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A second-generation prototype Honda Autonomous Work Vehicles (AWV) successfully performed a range of functions at large-scale solar energy construction site. The unit was operated by Black & Veatch who validated their performance and suitability in several construction use cases. Honda AWV is expected to be capable of performing a wide range of services for industries that need a rugged off-road autonomous solution.

Honda and Black & Veatch have successfully tested the prototype Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV) at a Black & Veatch construction site in New Mexico. During the month-long field test, the second-generation prototype of the fully-electric Honda AWV performed a range of functions at a large-scale solar energy construction project, including towing activities and transporting construction materials, water, and other supplies to pre-set destinations within the work site.

Watch the Honda AWV

While Honda previously performed testing with an earlier generation of the Honda AWV, this field test was the first to deploy multiple units working collaboratively to support construction use cases.

First introduced as a concept at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the Honda AWV combines the company’s rugged and durable off-road side-by-side platform with emerging advanced autonomous technology. The result is a new category of capable work vehicle that can be deployed in a variety of dynamic work environments. The Honda AWV employs a suite of sensors to operate autonomously, using GPS for location, radar and lidar for obstacle detection and stereoscopic (3D) cameras for remote monitoring. The vehicle also can be operated by remote control.

 

Black & Veatch, a global engineering, procurement and construction company focused on construction optimization and technology innovation collaborated with Honda to provide a real-world testing ground  to validate the Honda AWV technology at an active construction site. The company’s personnel were trained by Honda’s engineers on the operation and safety protocols of the vehicles to effectively use the technology in the field. Black & Veatch provided detailed feedback for product and business requirements that will help enhance the Honda AWV’s capabilities and services.

“Black & Veatch’s pursuit of construction innovation and safety on job sites has led us to this relationship with Honda,” said Mario Azar, president of Black & Veatch’s global power business. “With our leading market position in solar power, the testing of this new autonomous work vehicle aligns with our focus on advancing the industry through new and innovative ways to work at project sites.”

“With our test partner, Black & Veatch, Honda was able to demonstrate the performance of our rugged all-electric Autonomous Work Vehicle prototype in a large-scale construction environment,” said Kenton Williams, U.S. project lead for the Honda AWV. “We believe the Honda AWV has the potential to bring greater efficiencies, higher levels of safety and better environmental performance to the construction industry, and to other industries seeking an autonomous off-road solution.”

Field Test Performance

In order to validate the capabilities of the Honda AWV, the company selected a solar energy construction site where support structures for solar panels are laid out in a grid pattern at regular intervals. The site was an ideal environment to test the ability of the Honda AWV to stop at precise points along a pre-set route.

Honda produced a high-definition map of the 1,000-acre site that allowed Black & Veatch operators to precisely set start and stop points for multiple Honda AWVs using a cloud-based app interface that runs on tablets and PCs. The vehicles successfully delivered materials and supplies along a calculated routeand proved capable of stopping within centimeters of the pre-set points.

The field test also demonstrated the viability of the Honda AWV battery system to support energy[1]intensive sensors and provide vehicle propulsion, while operating up to eight hours in a high[1]temperature environment. The vehicle carried payloads of nearly 900 pounds, and in a separate use case towed a trailer carrying over 1,600 pounds.

Solutions and Services for a Variety of Industries

Based on the capabilities verified in this field test, Honda believes the Honda AWV will be capable of providing a wide range of services to a variety of industries that need a rugged off-road autonomous solution, especially where workforce constraints and safety concerns make other solutions impractical. The ability to operate autonomously – or via remote control – and carry large payloads, along with the potential to add attachments and tools, makes the Honda AWV a suitable platform for many work environments.

Honda has not announced commercialization plans for the Honda AWV, but continues to advance the platform through field testing. Companies interested in testing the Honda AWV to assess applicability to their work environment can contact Honda at: [email protected]

Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle Gen 2 Prototype Specifications

Honda anticipates further improvements to performance and design specifications as development of the Honda AWV prototype continues to advance.

Vehicle dimensions 9’ 6”L x 4’ 8”H x 4’ 11”W

Unladen vehicle weight 721kg (1590lbs)

Maximum loading capacity 399kg (880lbs)

Towing weight limit 750kg (1653lbs) (including the weight of a trailer)

Minimum turning radius 3.9m (12ft. 9.5in.)

Range at maximum loading capacity

Up to 45km (27.9 miles) depending on the use case

Charge time Up to 6 hours (120V)

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned global engineering, procurement, consulting, and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people around the world by addressing the resilience and reliability of our most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2020 exceeded US$3.0 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and on social media.

About Honda

Honda started U.S. operations with the establishment of America Honda Motor Co., Inc. in 1959. Today, Honda employs 30,000 associates in America engaged in the development, manufacturing, sales and service support of Honda and Acura automobiles, Honda power equipment, Honda powersports products, and the HondaJet advanced light jet.

Honda operates 19 research and development facilities in America that fully design, develop and engineer many of the products the company manufactures in America. Based on its longstanding commitment to build products close to the customer, Honda also operates 12 major U.S. manufacturing facilities, working with more than 620 U.S. suppliers to produce the diverse range of Honda products using domestic and globally sourced parts. In 2020, more than two-thirds of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in America.

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