(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Honda Unveils Intelligent Traffic Systems
September 17, 1998 (TOKYO) - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. revealed two types
of new vehicles designed for the Intelligent Community Vehicle System
(ICVS), its new intelligent traffic system.
|The company will start test operations of the systems at Twin Ring Motegi
in Motegi, Tochigi Prefecture, on Oct. 5.
ICVS is a concept of a community-based traffic system for the near future.
Honda announced the concept in Detroit, Michigan, in October 1994. The
environmentally-friendly system is designed to solve such issues as
limited parking spaces and traffic congestion by sharing low-polluting,
small-sized electric cars within the community.
Since August, Honda has been taking test rides of the ICVS-Racoon and
ICVS-monpal at Twin Ring Motegi. Racoon is an electricity-assisted bicycle,
while monpal is a small electric car for a single passenger that moves
at walking speed.
The operation system announced recently by Honda will use a smart card.
First, users will register as a member to have the system issue them
a smart card for the ICVS. With use of the card, they will select, rent
and return a vehicle and adjust fees at a terminal set up at a port.
After completing all the procedures, users can then use the smart card
as a key to the vehicle to unlock and start the engine.
Honda also explained its automated management system for
its new vehicle ICVS-Citypal (See photo on the left), which was also
Citypal is an electric car for two passengers equipped with radio equipment.
A driver will be able to communicate with a central control center in
real time. At the center, vehicles stationed at each port are identified
via radio communication, and the number of the stationed vehicles are
adjusted if necessary.
In that case, a technology called "formational motion" (See photo on
the right) will be adopted. Under the technology, a manned vehicle running
at the front of the formation can accompany a maximum of four unmanned
vehicles operated via radio communications and radar.
The company also has developed a system in which unmanned vehicles can
enter, park and leave a garage within the port using magnetic nails
and guiding cables.
Citypal measures 3,210mm x 1,645mm x 1,645mm, and weighs
about one ton with nickel hydrogen batteries. Its range is 130 kilometers
and the maximum speed is 130 kilometers per hour.
The automaker also unveiled ICVS-Step Deck, a hybrid car for one passenger
using four 49cc water-cooling cycle engines and a synchronous motor
based on permanent magnets. The vehicle measures 2,400mm x 1,150mm x
1,700mm, with a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour. Four ICVS-Step
Deck vehicles can be parked in a space for one traditional vehicle,
Honda officials said.
The officials said the models of the ICVS line are still at an experimental
stage, and it will take considerable time to commercialize them.
Takeo Fukui, managing director of Honda Motor and president of Honda
R&D; Co., Ltd., said, "To commercialize the vehicles, we will need cooperation
of the community, and we have to solve legal issues. The concept, however,
could be realized only by Honda, which possesses extensive technologies
for all two-wheeled, four-wheeled and general-purpose vehicles."
(BizTech News Dept.)