Honda announced that it would start a testing program for autonomous vehicles (AVs) in September 2021. This is the first step in the planned launching of an autonomous vehicle mobility service (MaaS) in Japan.
The MaaS business is in coordination with Cruise and General Motors.
Before testing can begin, the company will create a high-definition map with a specialized car for the test area. According to Honda, testing will happen in Utsunomiya City and Haga Town in the Tochigi Prefecture.
Once the map is created, the Cruise AV will drive on public roads to develop and test the AV in a traffic environment.
Honda and Cruise are working jointly on the testing program and are establishing an operations test site at the Honda Facility in Tochigi Prefecture.
Once testing is complete, the idea is to launch its autonomous vehicle MaaS business using the Cruise Origin. The Origin is a collaborative vehicle with Honda, Cruise and General Motors which are developing the car for AV use.
Honda did not confirm an exact day when testing would begin. Nor did Honda, Cruise or General Motors provide more details on their collaborative MaaS project.