Honda is giving us a peek of what it’s been up to at an old Naval Base in California.
It’s been testing its self-driving car tech at the GoMentum Station in the Concord Naval Weapons Station in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 5,000-acre decommissioned lot offers 20 miles of paved roads to put autonomous vehicles through their paces. Honda is using an Acura RXL Sport Hybrid for its project. It showed off the second-generation autonomous vehicle last month. While a fully autonomous vehicle won’t be sold for awhile, Honda says it’s already incorporating semi-autonomous safety functions in its Honda and Acura lineups.
The new testing grounds resemble a modern day ghost-town, which you can check out in the video below. The now empty base was established in 1942 and portions of it were closed in 2007. It processed and shipped thousands of tons of munitions out across the Pacific Ocean in major U.S. military efforts over the years, from WWII to the Gulf War.
Honda says the advanced testing grounds will help fine tune the software faster in a real-world environment. It’s using mannequins to test the car’s sensors and responses. Wednesday, reporters saw the cars accelerate, stop and cede the way for pedestrians, and turn in autonomous mode.
Honda is also using the opportunity to talk about the wireless spectrum. The automaker, along with other carmakers and safety regulators, is urging the U.S. government to preserve the 5.9 GHz radio spectrum for future vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Some cable and tech groups are trying to get access to it now because they claim they’re running out of spectrum space to run connected devices.
Honda hopes to release an autonomous car by 2020.