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Auto blogFri, 02 Aug 2013 08:44:00 EST
McLaren and Honda may expand their alliance beyond the world of Formula 1, according a report from the UK's Autocar, which quotes McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh.
Citing the multi-year deal, Whitmarsh remarked at last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, "It's a pure Formula 1 contract, but we've already been looking at automotive technology and we're sharing that very openly. Our road car strategy at the moment has no other automotive partner and Honda would be a good place to collaborate."
Still, we wouldn't count on seeing a McLaren-Honda road car in the near future. According to Autocar, McLaren's road-car division is already tied up working on a rival for the Porsche 911, called the P13.
There are many challenges that will need to be sorted out before full autonomous driving becomes a reality, but automakers are taking small steps toward this advancement with semi-autonomous technologies. Nissan, Toyota and Ford have already revealed various automated driving systems, and now Honda is getting into the game with an automatic valet parking system that was unveiled recently at the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) World Congress in Tokyo.
Unlike Ford's recently demonstrated self-parking Focus, which is fully operational on its own, Honda's new system requires input from the parking lot via cameras. Combining information provided by the car's rearview camera as well as cameras positioned around the parking lot, drivers are able to drop their car off at a central location, and using a touchscreen display, the car can park itself and return when the driver is ready to leave. The benefit of this is that multiple cars can be parked at the same time and no additional sensors (other than a backup camera) are needed for the car, but the downside is that it can only operate on properly equipped parking lots. According to Honda's demonstration, this system can be practical by 2020.
Honda also showed off some semi-autonomous driving and non-contact electric vehicle recharging technologies at the ITS World Congress, although information is limited and there are no demonstrations available. Scroll down to read more about Honda's latest tech, including a video demonstration of the automatic valet parking system.
Honda has already showcased its new Fit-based crossover around the world. We've seen it in Tokyo wearing the Vezel name and we've seen it in Paris in 'prototype' form. We've even seen photos of the US-spec version. We just haven't seen that North American model in the flesh, but that'll all be fixed next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
That's where Honda will, at long last, unveil the US version of its new HR-V subcompact. The Japanese automaker hasn't told us much else, save to say that the HR-V will, of course, slot in below the CR-V in US showrooms. It'll also feature the company's lauded Magic Seat system, "which allows for multiple seating configurations and the ability to fold the second row seat completely flat for added cargo space."
Alongside the HR-V, Honda's luxury division will also be showcasing a revised version of its ILX sedan at the LA show as well. Acura hasn't revealed precise details of what revisions are in store for its smallest sedan - or a more detailed photo than the teaser inset at right - but it is promising "a comprehensive update that include a potent new powertrain, more forceful, sporty exterior styling and a substantially upgraded interior design."