Is the Honda AWV the most adorable self-driving truck yet?
Let's face it, self-driving cars still have a long way to go before they're allowed to drive on public roads by themselves. However, that hasn't stopped automakers from developing them and using them in limited settings. Honda is one of them, and they've recently revealed the adorable Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV) prototype.
Some might remember the AWV as a concept Honda introduced in 2018. But now, the self-driving machine has been put to work and is currently deployed at a construction site in New Mexico with Black & Veatch, a large engineering firm. While it might be small, the self-driving truck can carry up to 400 kg and has a maximum towing weight of 750 kg. Power and battery outputs are unknown, but Honda says it can travel up to 45km on a single charge.
Honda says the AWV prototype can operate in two modes: autonomously or remotely controlled by a human operator. In self-driving mode, an operator with a tablet tells the machine where to go on a map, and the vehicle figures out how to get there. A forward-mounted camera, 3D cameras, a GPS tracker, lidar, and more act as the eyes of the AWV.
While the range is small compared to other EVs, it is more than enough for a low-speed worksite vehicle. The design of the AWV prototype is what sets it apart from other self-driving vehicles; it's cute. It features round headlights that seem to be lifted from the Honda e EV.
The real-world test with Black & Veatch appears to be a success, according to Honda. However, the automaker isn't ready to put the AWV into commercial production yet. Instead, Honda will continue to develop the product even further and is currently looking for more partners to test the machine. Some of the plans include adding attachments and tools to make the self-driving truck even more suited for work environments.