UPDATED 21:44 EDT / DECEMBER 21 2016


Honda in talks with Alphabet’s Waymo to use self-driving car technology

Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. is in talks with Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo division, previously known as Google Car, to add self-driving technology to its vehicles.

The talks are said to be at an early stage. Both companies say any deal will first involve research versus production vehicles. Should it progress further, Honda would become the second potential customer for Waymo’s self-driving car technology.

Under a potential deal, Honda may provide vehicles to Waymo that can be modified to be self-driving. Those cars would join the existing Waymo fleet currently being tested in various locations within the United States. According to Bloomberg, the discussions with Honda underscore a desire by Waymo to develop the brains behind self-driving vehicle technology rather than build the cars using the system themselves, and that Waymo is eager to work with more car companies as it prepares to commercialize the technology.

The push toward forging partnerships with existing vehicle manufacturers isn’t new for the former Google X self-driving division. The company signed an agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in May that included the provision of 100 Pacifica vehicles for self-driving conversion and testing.

A move to partner with Honda follows a vow by Waymo Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik on Dec. 14 that the company was committed to reshaping the way motor vehicles travel. “We believe that this technology can begin to reshape some of the ten trillion miles that motor vehicles travel around the world every year, with safer, more efficient and more accessible forms of transport,” he wrote. “We can see our technology being useful in personal vehicles, ridesharing, logistics, or solving last mile problems for public transport. In the long term, self-driving technology could be useful in ways the world has yet to imagine, creating many new types of products, jobs, and services.”

Honda comes into the relationship with its own experience in self-driving cars. In March, it launched a Civic LX Sedan with autonomous driving capability.

Image courtesy of Waymo

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