Concept vehicles are always fun to take a look at. While concept vehicles rarely wind up directly leading to a new model, they can show us where an individual company, as well as the auto industry in general, are headed — autonomous driving
Right now, Honda has laid out seven concept vehicles based on the future idea of “autonomous driving technology.” The idea that vehicles are meant to take us anywhere we want to go, anywhere in the world, and that that they can do so while allowing us to sit back and enjoy the ride.
The design studio Mori Inc. in Japan teamed up with Map design studios in London to design these concept vehicles. Each of these seven vehicles is designed to cross over certain types of terrain. The studios started with the idea of tracing a migration route from Kenya in Africa to Brazil in South America.
While each design is purely conceptual and speculative, they still feature and are inspired by elements from various Honda products and technologies that exist today. The Asimo robot and the Uni-Cub personal mobility device are two examples.
Each vehicle has a traveling mode for daytime travel and a relaxing mode for nighttime and sleeping. The concept vehicles include:
Safari Drifter. This one is designed to be able to cross the African savannah, and has some design references to the Honda Vamos utility vehicle. It incorporates technology from Honda’s robotic lawn mowers, allowing the vehicle to create a new track in the grass. There is a sheltered canopy above the vehicle, providing occupants with protection from the sun as well as animals. The canopy can even rise up above the ground via a helium balloon.
Desert Train. This concept vehicle has various components that connect to form a train. It’s powered by Honda fuel cell technology. Its roll cage gives the Desert Train a very indestructible feel. At night, the train expands into a tent so that you can get a good night’s rest.
Mountain Climber. The name says it all. This is a big vehicle with high clearance to the ground, enabling you to travel on the rough roads of the Himalayas. It features robotic legs inspired by Honda’s Asimo robot, which can be deployed if there is a landslide in order to help the vehicle get through the debris and rocks. There’s even a digger bucket on the rear arm to help dig out of sticky situations.
Island Hopper. This is where a luxury yacht meets the open road. Honda is no stranger to building lightweight vehicles including Formula 1 cars and compact business jets. The Island Hopper features six paddle wheels that push the vehicle along through open water. It’s entirely powered by solar energy, too. Once the vehicle hits land, those wheels work like a tank does, including separate left and right controls to navigate the roads of an island.
Tundra Sled. What do you get when you cross Honda’s Uni-Cub self-balancing technology with a dog sled? You get this vehicle right here. It features six drone wheels that pull the sled along through the ice and snow. The drone wheels also look for cracks in the ice, keeping certain doom at bay.
Road Tripper. Plenty of the journey will include man-made roads, which is Honda’s natural element. The Road Tripper features large glass panels that allow you to take in all of the scenery while sitting on a sofa. The Honda Gyro X steering system, which is a 3-wheel design that offers excellent mobility with minimal fuel use, is featured in this concept vehicle.
Jungle Jumper. This six-wheel truck features deep tire treads, a habitation unit that can be pulled up into the trees at night for safety, and will get you through the densest of rainforest locations.
While these vehicles aren’t going into production anytime soon, they do provide an entertaining look into the future of world travel, courtesy of Honda.