The adorable car in this video and photo gallery is the latest generation of the Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV) prototype. The company has been testing this small, self-driving machine for a month at a construction site where Black & Vech is building a 120-megawatt solar array on 1,000-acre land in New Mexico.
The AWV is based on a Honda Pioneer UTV chassis. The small vehicle can carry loads up to 880 pounds (721 kilograms) and can pull up to 1,653 pounds (750 kilograms). When fully loaded, the rig has a maximum range of 27.9 miles (45 kilometers). It takes 6 hours to charge from a 120-volt outlet.
The Honda AWV can either act as a remote-controlled vehicle or navigate autonomously. In self-driving mode, an operator with a tablet tells the machine where to go on the map and the car determines how to get there. For world viewing, there is a forward-mounted camera, 3D camera, a GPS tracker, leader and radar.
Construction company Black & Vech used AWV to carry gears around the site of the solar array. Vehicles release workers who normally drive these loads around so that these people are able to do other things.
It wasn’t the first real-world test for AWV, but it was the first time Honda had evaluated several of them at once. The company showed the initial prototype of the car at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show.
Honda says it is not yet ready to put AWV into commercial production, but the company continues to develop the product. It is looking for more partners like Black & Vech who are interested in testing the machine There are plans to add attachments and equipment to the vehicle to make the machine more convenient for human workers.