Honda recently released plans to build eVTOL, robots and even potentially help colonize the moon. All very noble and ambitious plans, but these, says Honda, are being introduced to help solve problems other than transportation.
The announcement came on Thursday, September 30, and is quite surprising for a company that is more often associated with building great cars like the Civic, Accord and CR-V.
Honda’s plans for eVTOL are much closer to the company’s core business. This part of the plan comes hotly after the growing appetite for personal transport with vertical take-off. However, unlike most of the competition in this area, Honda will focus more on the hybrid power plant with a gas turbine than on the all-electric one.
EVTOL, similar to a Honda helicopter, Honda Envisage, will be used for intercity travel, not just for city travel. Such a fabrication, of course, will require specific infrastructure to become viable, which is something the company said they are willing to invest.
As for robots, Honda also has some experience in this area. Asimo, this robot that has been in the news for several years and is a great example. The next step, according to Honda, is to create robot-like avatars that can be used remotely by users.
This will allow human operators to be located anywhere in the world and for dangerous places, completely out of danger. Named the “second self” by Honda, the company has already released proof of the concept for this technology in the form of a robotic hand and fingers that can be controlled remotely.
The disembodied hand and fingers are able to handle tools with sufficient strength and dexterity. Honda believes that the possibilities for this field are huge and hopes to reveal more details in a few years.
Honda, believe it or not, wants to help settle on the moon
In terms of Honda’s plans to help populate the moon, this is the most ambitious of the three. With little or no experience in this area, it will be interesting to see what the company can get out of its sleeve.
Although the company has no plans to actually build lunar bases, they are looking for ways to help provide technological solutions to sustain the lives of future lunar colonists. To that end, Honda recently merged with the Japanese version of NASA, JAXA, in view of the building “Lunar surface circulating renewable energy system”.
However, such a plan depends entirely on the actual presence of water on the moon’s surface. If true, which seems very likely to be the case, Honda will want to modify its existing fuel cell technology to provide futuristic technology.
One example is a high differential pressure electrolysis technology that can decompose water to create free hydrogen and oxygen. The latter could be used to help colonists breathe, while the former would be the basis of rocket fuel for lunar-based missions or refueling.
Honda also hopes to enter the rocket market by developing, in the future, small rockets to support the launch of satellites in low Earth orbit, perhaps even beyond.
How many of these ambitious plans actually bear fruit remains to be seen, but Honda has no plans to shift speeds from its core business, cars. This is going to be an interesting decade for the company, so watch this space.