New self-driving car prototypes
Honda has launched a campaign with prototypes of self-driving cars. There are a total of seven models that help us dream of a new transportation concept that will soon become a reality and will travel 36,412 km around the world.
Each model has been designed to adapt to the specific driving conditions of its route. The adventure begins in Nairobi (Ethiopia) and ends in Manaus (Brazil).
This vision is much more romantic and different from the concept of self-driving cars that have been created for large cities to address issues such as traffic jams, parking, contamination, and safety.
It includes fascinating vehicles like the Mountain Climber, which has robotic legs that allow it to travel over loose terrain, such as in the Himalayas. The Island Hopper is an amphibious vehicle that takes passengers from Japan to the southern region of the Russian peninsula, Kamchatka, and is able to travel over water and on land. The Road Tripper, a stainless steel metal tube with large windows for panoramic views of the landscape, has been designed for the Mexico City stage that travels along the west coast of the United States. The Tundra Sled, which is adapted to snow and ice, has six electric pullers (inspired by a traditional dog sled) and is equipped with sensors to detect dangerous cracks in the ice.
Other prototypes that are more commercial
Google is working on another interesting prototype that consists of a self-driving vehicle designed for shipping and delivering packages. The news was announced this past February when the patent was approved. It has not been described how the vehicle will operate or manage routes, but it includes all the standard elements of self-driving vehicles.
This is not the only company to show interest in these types of vehicles. Daimler has been testing semi-autonomous trucks, such as the Inspiration model that handles the vehicle as long as the driver is present and once the truck is on a highway.
Ford Motor is already testing its self-driving cars in California while registering hundreds of patents related to the development of electric vehicles, such as the new Fusion, which is a hybrid self-driving car.
It is also developing a number of projects together with Stanford University to resolve the problems faced by engineers, such as drivers who break the rules or the interactions between vehicles and pedestrians.
Ford Motor is firmly committed to entering Silicon Valley and developing a self-driving car. In January, it inaugurated a laboratory in Palo Alto (California) that currently employs about 100 workers, mostly engineers. The company is close to signing an alliance with Google, with whom it plans to establish a joint venture for the development. However, it has already partnered with other major companies to work on the legislation and regulations for self-driving cars.