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

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 field test, the second-generation prototype of the Honda AWV performed functions at a large-scale solar energy construction project. These functions included towing activities and transporting construction materials, water, and other supplies to pre-set destinations within the worksite.

Watch a video of the Honda AWV at https://honda.us/AWV.

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

TESTING THE HONDA AWV

Honda first introduced the AWV 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. As a result, the Honda AWV is a new category of work vehicle for a variety of work environments. The Honda AWV employs a suite of sensors to operate autonomously. It uses 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.

Additionally, 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. Honda’s engineers trained the company’s personnel on the operation and safety protocols of the vehicles to effectively use the technology. Further, Black & Veatch provided feedback for product and business requirements that will help enhance the AWV’s capabilities and services.

“Black & Veatch’s pursuit of construction innovation and safety on jobsites has led us to this relationship with Honda,” says 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,” says Kenton Williams, US 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

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

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

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

SOLUTIONS AND SERVICES FOR A VARIETY OF INDUSTRIES

From the field test, Honda believes the AWV will provide services to industries that need a rugged off-road autonomous solution; this will be especially helpful 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 AWV@na.honda.com.

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)

Find out more, visit www.bv.com and www.honda.com.

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