Carmaker Honda is now following the footsteps of General Motors. In May this year, GM had announced that it will embed Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its vehicles to be launched in 2016. These devices aim to allow customers to replicate their smartphones and apps to their infotainment systems. General Motors had in turn followed Hyundai’s move; that had announced the offer of Android Auto in its Sonata sedan. Its 2015 vehicles bear the software application to mirror the smartphones of users.
Unveiling its first vehicle in Silicon Valley, Honda has now introduced the 2016 Accord embedded with the latest technology that will come to the marketplace in August. Along with the vehicle, the company launched an expanded research and development facility in Mountain View, California. Since 2000, Honda has an established R&D facility in San Francisco Bay Area.
The Japanese carmaker announced in a statement that the 2016 Accord will be Honda’s first car and one of the first high-volume cars to feature both Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto devices; although the price is still unknown. It further stated “These and other major upgrades to technology and features make it the most high-tech Accord ever”. Its other lineup of vehicles will also bear the features later although the company has not specified which ones.
The native devices in the 2016 Accord lineup will seamlessly integrate smartphones and offer a gamut of features and functions to turning vehicles into ‘smart cars’ being more sensor-friendly and sophisticated. The vehicle’s audio system, display and some other features can be controlled by the new 7-inch touchscreen. Users can use it as a smartphone or tablet by swiping, typing and pinching icons and images. Along with the touchscreen, voice can also be used via Siri for Apple CarPlay to apply their navigation systems, make calls, send and receive messages.
Android 5.0 and higher versions are supported by Android Auto. Among some other apps, it includes Google Maps, Google Now, Messaging and music. Apple CarPlay supports iOS 7.1 and higher, working with iPhone 5 or later. The new Accord will feature an HD Radio, front and rear parking sensors and a Display Audio touchscreen interface along with Honda Sensing. Driver Assistive and safety technologies will also be borne by the midsize vehicle.
A few other technologies in the lineup include facilities to prevent its automobiles to crash other vehicles and vice versa. The main purpose is not to provide self-driving cars, but to reduce collisions, injuries and fatalities. It will also bear novel features including Honda Sensing capabilities like Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Collision Mitigation Braking System.
There was also a demonstration of gesture-based car controls, done in partnership with San Francisco’s Leap Motion. Honda also gave a demo in Silicon Valley about pedestrian-sensing technologies detect road obstacles and automatically brake on the driver’s behalf along with an audio and visual warning to the driver. According to the President of Honda R&D Americas,- Frank Paluch, the Tokyo-based firm plans to reduce half the number of Honda collisions by 2030 and eradicate them completely two decades hence.
Despite the positive results expected from the new software applications, flags and concerns are raised due to issues related to the same. Some of them include cars being hacked and letting the cyber criminals control the car for users. A writer experienced the car being stopped in the middle of the highway due to hackers stooping it and gaining control over its engine.
Hopefully fatal issues and bugs like these will be fixed in the future smart cars. It will not be a long wait before Honda brings the Accord to the marketplace with its ‘more expressive’ LED lights bearing ‘Honda’s signature look’. It is also expected to be California’s best-selling car the number one selling car to customers under the age of 35.