Honda’s adorable autonomous prototype is a nameless workhorse

  • Honda tested its Autonomous Work Vehicle, an electric self-driving prototype closely related to its side-by-sides but geared towards transporting supplies.
  • The AWV has a payload limit of 880 pounds and can tow over 1600 pounds, traveling up to 28 miles fully loaded.
  • Honda tested the AWV at a solar-powered construction site in New Mexico, where it faced high temperatures and uneven terrain.

    We’ve been hearing for several years about the imminent arrival of autonomous vehicles, with tech advocates painting rosy images of robotaxis shuttling around as we spend even more time engrossed in our screens. But while there has been a great deal of hype around self-driving passenger vehicles, autonomous technology may find its first place in commercial applications. Honda today announced that it has successfully completed a test of its Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV), a cute little-named prototype used to transport supplies to construction sites.


    The all-electric AWV slides over the platform that underpins Honda’s side-by-side ATVs and uses a combination of radar and lidar sensors, GPS positioning, and stereoscopic cameras to maneuver on its own, although it can be operated via remote control. The AWV is nine and a half feet long and nearly five feet wide, weighing in at 1590 pounds with no load. It has a range of 27.9 miles under full load and fully recharges in up to six hours with a 120-volt connection.

    Honda tested the AWV with construction engineering firm Black & Veatch, using a solar-powered yard in New Mexico where several AWVs towed and transported supplies to predetermined destinations. For testing, Honda created a high-definition map of the area so that Black & Veatch operators could set destination points for the AWVs on a cloud-based app, and Honda says the AWVs were capable of stop a few inches from the waypoints.

    AWV may sound cheerful, but it’s a tough cookie. At the 1000-acre Black & Veatch site, the AWV carried loads of up to 880 pounds and also hauled trailers with a capacity of over 1,600 pounds, operating for up to eight hours in the sweltering New Mexico sun.

    Honda expects AWV to serve a variety of industries that require an off-road capable refueling vehicle, especially where safety concerns make driver elimination a priority; one possibility could be mining. Honda hasn’t officially announced any plans to produce the AWV, but says it will continue testing prototypes and asked interested companies to contact them for testing. We hope that the AWV eventually becomes a mainstay in the workplace and that, if and when it does, Honda will give it a more fittingly adorable name.

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