In case it isn’t obvious by now, the Consumer Electronics Show attracted just about every automaker that has a vested interest in future mobility. Honda was in attendance at the event, where it announced plans through Honda Xcelerator to bring together a consortium of tech startups with the goal of developing new technologies that are geared towards future mobility. Included in this list of startups are BRAIQ, DeepMap, DynaOptics, EXO Technologies, Tactual Labs, and WayRay.
Each of the six startups brings something different to the table. BRAIQ, for example, is a company that focuses on developing technologies for the autonomous vehicle space, specifically through the collection of biometric information that it can analyze to add what it describes as a “layer of emotional intelligence on top of artificial intelligence.” Honda’s goal in partnering with BRAIQ is to one day personalise its own Adaptive Cruise Control system to improve trust in autonomous driving technology. For its part, DynaOptics’ service revolves around state-of-the-art optic lenses. The Singapore-based startup is known for its free-form optic lenses that work better than traditional lenses in certain specifications. Honda’s tapping into that ability to improve its own light-to-camera sensors.
Honda’s goal of improving its own GPS service is a big reason why it’s bringing startups DeepMaps and EXO Technologies into the fold. DeepMaps is based in
California, and it provides high-definition (HD) maps and real-time localization as a service to autonomous vehicles. As it is, the company is building a cloud-based, scalable platform that can create 3D HD maps for autonomous cars equipped with Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy. Meanwhile, Israel-based EXO Technologies provides its own brand of GPS solutions that focus on improving in-car navigation among autonomous vehicles. These two partnerships fall in line with Honda’s plan to take its GPS service to a level that can be used by autonomous vehicles.
Another startup, Tactual Labs, has been brought into the fold by Honda because of the startup’s PRISMä technology. This tech feature is capable of wrapping a free-form object in accurate in-air, skeletal, and contact sensing and construct the human hand and body in 3D. Honda’s collaboration with the Toronto-based company is tied into its plan to create a new and smarter user interface that can provide drivers increased functionality while inside their cars or aboard their motorcycles.
Then there’s WayRay, a Swiss developer of a holographic augmented reality (AR) navigation system for cars, giving us an idea of Honda Xcelerator’s plans with this partnership. One of WayRay’s calling cards is its Holographic AR, a display device that can turn a car’s windshield into a window of information that’s capable of displaying multicolored virtual objects. The tech is compact in size, but it is capable of creating a fully-featured, non-wearable augmented reality infotainment system that can serve multiple functions, including detection of road obstacles and pedestrians, displaying points of interest, or alerting the driver to hazards. In other words, Honda wants to go Minority Report on all of us.
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