While many of the flashy, marquee mobility and transportation demos that go on at CES tend to be of the more… aspirational variety, Honda’s electric cargo hauler, the Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV), could soon find use on airport grounds as the robotic EV trundles towards commercial operations.
Honda first debuted the AWV as part of its CES 2018 companion mobility demonstration, then partnered with engineering firm Black & Veatch to further develop the platform. The second-generation AWV was capable of being remotely piloted or following a preset path while autonomously avoiding obstacles. It could carry nearly 900 pounds of sutff onboard and atow another 1,600 pounds behind it, both on-road and off-road. Those second-gen prototypes spent countless hours ferrying building materials back and forth across a 1,000-acre solar panel construction worksite, both individually and in teams, as part of the development process.
This past March, Honda unveiled the third-generation AWV with a higher carrying capacity, higher top speed, bigger battery and better obstacle avoidance. On Tuesday, Honda revealed that it is partnering with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to test its latest AWV at the city’s Pearson Airport.
The robotic vehicles will begin their residencies by driving the perimeters of airfields, using mounted cameras and an onboard AI, checking fences and reporting any holes or intrusions. The company is also considering testing the AWV as a FOD (foreign object debris) tool to keep runways clear, as an aircraft component hauler, people mover or baggage cart tug.
The AWV is just a small part of Honda’s overall electrification efforts. The automaker is rapidly shifting its focus from internal combustion to e-motors with plans to release a fully-electric mid-size SUV, as well as nearly a dozen EV motorcycle models by 2025, and develop an EV sedan with Sony. Most importantly, however, the Motocompatco is making a comeback.