To reduce traffic fatalities, accidents and congestion. Could mean jobs for Antioch residents.
The Johnny Cab, as seen in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Total Recall,” could be a thing of the near future, with automated vehicles showing up at your door, picking you up, taking you to where you want to go, and then returning you to your home, when you’re done. But, without the annoying Johnny animatron at the wheel.
Today, Honda announced, at a county transportation summit in Concord, that it has commenced testing of its automated and connected vehicle technology at the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS). Under the terms of an agreement reached with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) in conjunction with the City of Concord, Honda will use the newly branded “GoMentum Station” test-bed site at the CNWS to advance its technologies. Honda also plans to participate in a consortium committed to making Contra Costa County home to a premier testing facility for automated drive technologies.
GoMentum Station, a 5,000-acre facility, is the largest secure test-bed of its kind, located at the CNWS. The CNWS was officially closed in 2007 and is currently in the process of being transferred to the City of Concord.
“The Concord Naval Weapons Station is an ideal proving ground to augment Honda’s research and development efforts because it is a controlled environment that can be continuously modified to represent a wide array of settings that an automated vehicle must navigate, especially for urban operation,” said Paul Cummings, Group Lead for Systems Integration, Automated Vehicle Research, Honda Research Institute USA. “This program will bring a new level of robustness to Honda’s industry-leading efforts in the area of automated and connected vehicle technology.”
GoMentum Station contains 20-miles of paved, city-like roadway grids, buildings and other urban infrastructure, providing a realistic environment that will help accelerate the development of automated and connected vehicle technologies. The public will not have access to the test-bed site, and the automated vehicle testing will be restricted to GoMentum Station.
“The City of Concord is very pleased to see Honda bring its advanced automated vehicle research to Contra Costa,” stated Concord Mayor Tim Grayson. “We’re very hopeful this partnership will continue to support economic growth and spur excitement for hi-tech jobs in our community.”
Honda will leverage modified versions of Acura’s flagship RLX sedan for development and testing at GoMentum Station. New prototype sensors and cameras added to the vehicle will work hand-in hand with the extensive array of forward, reverse and corner sensors that enable a suite of AcuraWatch™ safety and driver assistive technologies on the production RLX.
“The Contra Costa Transportation Authority is committed to supporting innovative research that will influence transportation and enhance safety for all road users,” said Executive Director Randy Iwasaki. “We are very excited to add Honda as a partner as we prepare for the launch of GoMentum Station. Their impressive study of automated and connected vehicle technology will help us accelerate the next generation of transportation infrastructure that will make the future of driving safer around the world.”
Honda Advanced Technology Leadership
Honda is steadily building its automated and connected car technology portfolio, while bringing industry-leading capabilities to current generation vehicles. In September 2014, the company demonstrated several of its latest innovations, including a vehicle capable of automated freeway merging, exiting and lane changing, as well as a unique vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) “virtual tow” capability for assisting a driver in distress, at the ITS World Congress in Detroit.
Consistent with its pursuit of a collision-free society, Honda is also broadly deploying advanced driver-assist and early-stage automated driving technologies in current vehicles that help improve drivers’ situational awareness, such as Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Collision Mitigation Braking System™ and Road Departure Mitigation. Honda is also leading the industry in the deployment of rearview cameras, to be offered as standard equipment on all model year 2015 Honda and Acura vehicles.
Complementing this new effort in Northern California, Honda is also a founding partner in the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC), a major public-private R&D initiative that aims to lay the foundation for a commercially viable system of connected and automated vehicles, including the implementation of a working system in Ann Arbor by 2021.
“We saw the great opportunity in Concord,” said Matt Sloutscher of Honda’s Communications and Corporate Affairs. “We’re going to start testing next week. We have the test vehicle. We have the engineers. It’s turnkey with all the infrastructure in place.”
About GoMentum Station
GoMentum Station in Concord, California is where the Contra Costa Transportation Authority leads and facilitates a collaborative partnership among multiple automobile manufacturers; original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers; communications suppliers; technology companies; researchers and academia; public agencies and other partners. At GoMentum Station, technology, innovation and commercialization will converge to define the next generation of transportation network infrastructure. More information about GoMentum Station is available at gomentumstation.net.
“Part of the intent of the GoMentum Station is workforce development and job training,” said Dr. Robert Bertini of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a panelist at today’s summit and a partner in the effort.
Those jobs could be filled by Antioch and other East County residents, who now commute beyond Concord for work.
About Honda Research Institute USA
Honda Research Institute USA (HRI-US) conducts research in the areas of computer and materials science, and develops strategic partnerships with public and private institutions to foster innovation. HRI-US was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Silicon Valley. Learn more at honda-ri.com/HRI_Us/.
About the Contra Costa Transportation Authority
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. As a transportation leader, CCTA is working to create a stronger economic future for Contra Costa County by building partnerships that make transportation safer, more reliable and increasingly efficient. Rather than exclusively trying to “build our way” out of congestion, CCTA’s vision centers around the use of emerging technologies and public-private partnerships to meet transportation demands and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Contra Costa County. More information about CCTA can be found online at ccta.net.
About City of Concord
Concord, California is located 29 miles east of San Francisco, adjacent to beautiful Mt. Diablo. The city covers 31.13 square miles. With a 2010 census count of 122,067 residents, it is the largest city in Contra Costa County. For more information about the City of Concord, or the redevelopment of the Concord Naval Weapons Station, please contact Leslye Asera at 925.671.3272 or Leslye.Asera@cityofconcord.org.