Autonomous vehicles have come a long way since their debut in the 1980s. Being featured in a number of industries at various positions, they've become pretty common in our daily lives nowadays.
Way back in CES 2018, Japanese automobile giant Honda had presented a variety of Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV) concepts and is now ready to make one of them a reality. Partnering with the construction firm Black & Veatch, Honda has successfully tested the prototype of its fully electric AWV at a solar energy construction site in New Mexico, United States. The company said the 1,000-acre worksite is an ideal environment to test out the maneuvering and routing capabilities of the AVW since it has the ability to go off-road.
Multiple vehicles were tested at the worksite of which Honda has created a high-definition map so that the operators could set the starting and ending points. While the vehicles can operate autonomously, they can also be remotely controlled should anything go awry.
The company states that the 1590-pound (721 kg) AWV can carry payloads of up to 880 lbs (399 kg) with a range of 27.9 miles (45 km). The autonomous vehicle can run for eight hours on a single charge. What's more, the AWV uses GPS, radar, LiDAR, and 3D cameras for remote monitoring and easy navigation.
Throughout its field testing in Black & Veatch's large-scale solar energy construction project, the second-generation AWV has successfully proven its worth. After completing the towing tasks and transporting construction materials, water, and other supplies to and from the worksite, Honda has stated that "the AWV will be capable of providing a wide range of services to a variety of industries that need a rugged off-road autonomous solution, especially where workforce constraints and safety concerns make other solutions impractical," and added that "the ability to operate autonomously – or via remote control – and carry large payloads, along with the potential to add attachments and tools, makes the Honda AWV a suitable platform for many work environments."