Honda Motor Co (NYSE: HMC) is finally making its entrance by giving a preview of its self-driving prototypes. The company has been keeping a low profile on its self-driving cars but showed the prototypes last Wednesday, claiming that it’s on its way into the market.
Honda is trying to say that they can compete with the two biggest companies in the field, Toyota (NYSE: TM) and General Motors (NYSE: GM), each of which has made huge leaps into the future of autonomous functionality.
Showcasing two of its prototypes at the GoMentum Station, a 5,000-acre former naval munitions zone, Honda showed reporters its cars abilities to accelerate, stop and cede the way for pedestrians, and turn in autonomous mode.
Honda has been working on various different semi-autonomous functions which include forward-collision warning, lane- departure warning and lane-keeping assist. These functions are already being sent out in their new Civic and Acura models which cost about $22,000.
Honda is joining the field but unlike its competitors, it has not centered the self-autonomous functions onto its luxury cars. Instead, they will try to make these functions accessible for everyone.
Jim Keller, chief engineer for Honda Research and Development Americas says that "this is a unique differentiator for Honda ... who is committed to the concept of safety for everyone. Unless we democratize it across our lineup it will be just a niche.”