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Watch Honda's latest Autonomous Work Vehicle help build a solar energy site

Honda worked with Black & Veatch to test this latest prototype, and the cutesy autonomous machine performed well.

Honda put its latest Autonomous Work Vehicle to, well, work. On Monday, the Japanese automaker said it successfully deployed the vehicle at a solar energy construction site with Black & Veatch to test just how well it performed. Both companies said the AWV executed its tasks with precision as it towed equipment, transported construction materials and more to pre-set destinations across the work site.

Honda's little work machine boasts a bundle of technology to make sure it's helpful rather than annoying at the work site. There's a suite of sensors to help the AWV, along with radar and lidar help the truck see. There are 3D cameras to help humans far away run the machine via remote control if desired. Honda also produced a high-definition 3D map of the work site, so the AWV had everything needed to succeed. Indeed, the vehicle needed to stop and unload materials at precise points across the 1,000-acre worksite. The AWV carried up to 900 pounds of cargo and towed up to 1,600 pounds. Further, the site in New Mexico was an excellent test bed for the battery-electric powertrain. The AWV withstood 8 hours of work in high temperatures.

With these tests under Honda's belt, development continues on the AWV. Honda hopes the vehicle will one day provide a solution capable of handling rugged tasks off the pavement. The company's very serious about gaining more experience, though, and invited companies that want to test the AWV to make contact to see how this little guy can help.