Japan – The vehicle-maker announced that it would set up R&D Center X to take a “non-traditional approach” toward “new value” areas including robotics, mobility systems and energy management. The facility will officially be launched in April this year.

R&D Center X will initially focus on researching autonomously operated machines and systems in the areas of robotics and mobility, which will collectively be referred to as “robotics”. This work will include the energy management necessary to power the robots and mobility systems. The centre will explore what Honda describes as “a fundamental technology of robotics”, namely “artificial intelligence that works cooperatively with people”.

The centre will engage in strategic collaborations with other organisations via Honda R&D Innovation Lab Tokyo (HIL-TK), which was established last year. HIL-TK is conducting research not only in new value areas but existing fields such as automated driving and connectivity technologies; the main themes of its activities are “artificial intelligence that works cooperatively with people” and “digital technologies that make automobiles more intelligent”.

R&D Center X will have two advisors: Edward Feigenbaum, professor emeritus of Computer Science at Stanford University and Kazuhiko Toyama, managing partner of Industrial Growth Platform. Feigenbaum is known for his work in artificial intelligence, while Toyama has extensive experience of corporate renewal and new business creation.