The Honda NeuV concept has been unveiled at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, and is said to tackle the problem of idleness. Specifically, the automaker claims that privately owned cars sit idle and unused 96 per cent of the time.
Mike Tsay, principal designer at Honda R&D Americas, says the NeuV was designed to “become more valuable to the owner by optimising and monetising the vehicle’s down time”.
It does this primarily by being a self-driving ride-sharing vehicle, picking up and dropping off passengers at nearby locations. The NeuV can also sell electricity back to the grid during times of high demand and high prices.
The NeuV is fitted with an artificial intelligence assistant. Dubbed HANA, or Honda Automated Network Assistant, the system was co-developed by Honda, and telephony and technology company SoftBank.
HANA’s emotion engine is able to learn from the owner’s driving history, and is said to be able to detect changes in the driver’s emotion and decision making. If necessary it can make “new choices and recommendations”, “support the owner’s daily driving routine”, or adjust the music playlist to suit.
The NeuV has seating for just two people, has a full-width touch panel infotainment interface, and an electric skateboard for last mile transport to and from the vehicle.
According to Honda, the NeuV is 2.9 metres long, 1.6m wide and 1.5m tall. The NeuV is powered by a set of 55kW electric motors hooked up to a 20kWh battery pack, and is said to have a range of between 160 and 320 kilometres.
A 6.6kW bi-directional inductive charging system allows the NeuV to be charged or feed electricity back to the grid wirelessly.
The car maker claims that the NeuV’s visibility and manoeuvrability are excellent thanks to its monobox shape, and a windscreen that flows unobstructed from the trailing edge of the bonnet through to around the headrests.