TOKYO – Honda is leveraging a tie-up with General Motors and Cruise to ramp up its new mobility business by importing some of Cruise’s newest wheels for use in Japan this year.
Under the plan announced Wednesday, Honda Motor Co. will receive the first self-driving test vehicle from Cruise for assessment in Japan this year. After that, Honda plans to also start a mobility-as-a-service, or MaaS, enterprise in Japan using the Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle.
The autonomous driving test vehicle, called Cruise AV, will be based on the Chevrolet Bolt. The Cruise Origin is a box-like people mover being jointly developed by all three companies. Cruise is majority owned by GM.
Honda spokeswoman Yu Kitagawa said the Japanese carmaker is still discussing details and that it is too early to say how many vehicles will be used or when the programs begin.
Honda’s announcement came as GM and Microsoft led a fresh investment round of $2 billion into Cruise, helping the autonomous car startup leverage Microsoft’s cloud computing firepower. Honda and other institutional investors also participated in the new round.