Honda in talks with Alphabet’s Waymo
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Honda in talks with Alphabet’s Waymo

It is an ambition of many technology firms to bring autonomous, self-driving cars to societies all over the world. And, there are now widespread reports that Honda, the Japanese car firm, is in talks with Waymo, Alphabet’s newly spun off driverless car division, over a partnership.

Collaborations between companies in different industries can often lead to spectacular breakthroughs and results, as different areas of expertise work together. This is clearly what is being hoped for by a range of technology and automobile companies who are working together to try and bring self-driving cars to the mainstream market sooner rather than later.

One of these partnerships could, if reports are correct, be about to be created between Honda and Waymo. The Guardian has reported that the two firms are in formal talks to jointly develop self-driving vehicles for the mass market.

A deal between Honda and Alphabet-owned Waymo would not be particularly surprising, as carmakers have looked to the world’s biggest and most innovative technology firms to produce this type of automation software. This is probably done to avoid the huge cost of building their own software.

Joann Muller, writing in Forbes, has reported: ‘Honda has already announced plans to put vehicles with automated driving capabilities on the road sometime around 2020, but said today it will also explore putting Waymo’s technology in its vehicles as a different approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market.’

‘The discussions are in the early stages. As a first step, Honda R&D Co., the research and development subsidiary of the Japanese company, said it could provide Waymo with vehicles modified to accommodate Waymo’s self-driving technology.’

Though this collaboration with the motor industry may be just the first baby step for Waymo, it is confirming suspicions that the spin-off from Alphabet was a sign that the firm was ready to commercialise.

This is not Honda’s first venture towards producing autonomous vehicles, as they already have their own in-house driverless car project, which is worked on by a team of engineers in both Japan and Silicon Valley. Earlier this year the Japanese firm announced that a new generation of their technology was going to be installed into a model of the Honda Acura.

Just how this potential partnership comes to fruition and functions will be interesting for motorists, technology fans and investors alike. 

Dominion holds Alphabet in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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