Brands like Audi, Mercedes and Volvo have taken a lead in autonomous vehicle development (or at least in media/PR campaigns related to autonomous vehicle development), but that doesn't mean other luxury brands aren't out there researching and developing, too. Acura revealed its second-generation automated development vehicle this week. The specially equipped RLX hybrid boasts an updated hardware and software suite designed to take automation a step further.
Honda announced in March 2015 that it had begun automated and connected vehicle testing at the San Francisco Bay Area's Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) site. At the time, it showed the Acura RLX automated development vehicle pictured below, which relied on a bulging, roof-mounted sensor tower.
As a half-second visual comparison tells you, the new automated RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD uses a much sleeker roof-top hardware set. The car's new hardware suite includes new radar, Lidar, camera and GPS sensors. Supporting hardware has also been updated and includes higher performance CPUs and GPUs and upgraded circuitry, heat management equipment and cables. The upgraded hardware is complemented by more intelligent software algorithms designed to support more complex testing scenarios.
Honda Research Institute USA will run the new RLX at the same CNWS site. Called GoMentum Station, the 5,000-acre proving ground includes 20 miles (32 km) of paved, urban-style roadway grids, along with buildings and other infrastructure.
Honda currently offers the AcuraWatch driver-assistance suite, which includes features like adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking and lane keeping assist. It intends to release a more complete set of automated technologies by 2020.