Honda tests new Autonomous Work Vehicle at Black & Veatch solar project

Honda and Black & Veatch have successfully tested the prototype Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV) at a Black & Veatch construction site in New Mexico. During the month-long field test, the second-generation prototype of the all-electric Honda AWV performed a series of functions on a large-scale solar-powered construction project, including towing operations and transporting building materials, water and other supplies to pre-destinations within the set up workplace.

While Honda previously tested an earlier generation of the Honda AWV, this field test was the first to deploy multiple units working together to support construction use cases.

First introduced as a concept at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the Honda AWV combines the company’s rugged and durable off-road side-by-side platform with emerging advanced autonomous technology. The result is a new category of capable work vehicles that can be used in a variety of dynamic work environments. The Honda AWV uses a range of sensors to work autonomously, using GPS for location, radar and lidar for obstacle detection and stereoscopic (3D) cameras for remote monitoring. The vehicle can also be operated with a remote control.

Black & Veatch, a global engineering, procurement and construction company focused on construction optimization and technological innovation, partnered with Honda to provide a real-life testing ground to validate Honda’s AWV technology on an active construction site. The company’s personnel were trained by Honda engineers in the operation and safety protocols of the vehicles to use the technology effectively in the field. Black & Veatch provided detailed feedback on product and business requirements that will help improve the Honda AWV’s capabilities and services.

“Black & Veatch’s commitment to building innovation and job site safety has led us to this relationship with Honda,” said Mario Azar, president of Black & Veatch’s global energy company. “With our market leading position in solar energy, testing this new autonomous work vehicle aligns with our focus on moving the industry forward through new and innovative ways of working on project sites.”

Field Test Performance

To validate the Honda AWV’s capabilities, the company selected a solar-powered construction site where grid-patterned solar panel load-bearing structures are constructed at regular intervals. The location was an ideal environment to test the Honda AWV’s ability to stop at precise points along a preset route.

Honda produced a high-definition map of the 1,000-acre site that allowed Black & Veatch operators to accurately set start and stop points for multiple Honda AWVs using a cloud-based app interface that runs on tablets and PCs. The vehicles successfully delivered materials and supplies along a calculated route and were able to stop within inches of the preset points.

The field test also demonstrated the viability of the Honda AWV battery system to support energy-intensive sensors and provide the vehicle’s propulsion while operating for up to eight hours in a high-temperature environment. The vehicle had a payload of nearly 900 pounds and, in an individual case, towed a trailer with more than 1,600 pounds.

Honda has not announced any commercialization plans for the Honda AWV, but continues to improve the platform through field testing. Companies interested in testing the Honda AWV to assess its applicability to their work environment should contact Honda at: [email protected]

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