2016 Honda Accord gets a new look, loads more tech

24 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2016 Honda Accord gets a new look, loads more tech.

A new Accord isn’t normally reason for excitement but the latest 2016 model is certainly worth a close look at, even for those buyers considering a near-premium sedan or perhaps even a model from Honda’s upmarket division Acura.MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Honda is joining other big automakers such as Ford and BMW in shoring up its research and development beachhead in Silicon Valley.

The 2016 Accord is an updated version of the model on sale since the 2013 model year, and key among the changes are the sharp new look and expanded tech. Honda Xcelerator will provide funding and know-how to developers working on auto-related tech. “Silicon Valley is the hub, it’s the bleeding edge, and we want to be working in a fully collaborative mode with entrepreneurs and other companies with visions that share our own,” says Frank Paluch, president of Honda R&D Americas. Last year, “it was outright the best-selling car in California and also the No. 1 selling car to customers under 35, so it’s important to attract the car to millennials.” What better place to start than at the millennial mecca? Earlier this month, new Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo, signaled that he was putting advances in technology ahead of aggressive sales targets, the Journal reported.

Although Honda has staffed engineers in the area since 2000, the new facility will allow the team to grow as automotive manufacturers increasingly pack their wares with technology. The front and rear fascia is new, the hood has been redesigned, and the Accord now features 19-inch wheels, all working together to give it a more aggressive look.

Today’s rededication of sorts—in an expanded R&D facility—symbolizes Honda’s renewed interest toward integrating some of the best aspects of today’s technological landscape into its increasingly sensor-friendly (and sophisticated) vehicles. “Much of the fundamental technological progress we all hope to achieve requires both a strong cooperative and competitive spirit. Mr Hachigo had said that Honda will develop technologies on its own as much as possible but is open to considering cooperation with other auto makers if there are benefits. The Japanese automaker opened the doors to its new R&D facility with a rare non-auto show reveal of a new model, the 2016 Honda Accord, the first Honda product to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Mix in new LED headlights, LED taillights and LED fog lights along with a new, “more expressive” grille and presto! — “Honda’s signature look,” as Marie called it, is ready to roll. Eventually, both systems will roll out to the entire Honda line-up, allowing seamless iPhone and Android smartphone integration with an in-dash infotainment system. Honda didn’t unveil pricing for the new 2016 Accord, but it will be the very first Honda vehicle to support both Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. To do that, Honda has launched a new open innovation program called Xcelerator which will offer funding, engineering support and resources to entrepreneurs to help them develop prototypes. Other features that are new to Accord – which continues its longtime duel with Toyota Camry for best-selling sedan honors, racking up sales of 380,000 in 2014 – include aggressive 19-inch wheels and a sleek new front fascia.

The new Accord gets the full-suite of Honda Sensing tech, which leverage sensors and software that help keep the car in its lane and even stop if it senses an object in its path. Honda Sensing includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

Such tech is part of a growing suite of driver-assist technology from a range of automakers that are a bridge between current vehicles and fully autonomous cars. There’s been no changes made to the powertrain offerings, which means the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine still outputs 185 horsepower, and the available 3.5-liter V-6 is still delivering 278 hp. Honda officials said changes here would be minimal and, as such, the Accord will still feature a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a CVT transmission and a 3.5-litre V-6 paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. A few weeks ago American Honda Finance agreed to pay a $25 million fine after federal officials charged the lending institution with charging minorities higher rates for auto loans.

By performing various gestures overtop a Leap Motion sensor, a driver could select a device—like a side mirror—and change its position by moving a hand around in mid-air. Pointing to a nearby fan and twirling a finger also let a driver or passenger adjust its speed. (Insert your own Minority Report joke here.) Honda also ran live demonstrations of its work on pedestrian-sensing technologies. The issue of driver safety and connected cars was cast in a stark light this week when a Wired magazine article detailed how two security experts were able to successfully take control of the magazine’s vehicle by hacking into its infotainment system. Though a lot of this driver-assisted technology could be used in self-driving vehicles, Honda executives were quick to note that the company isn’t necessarily trying to push its cars to drive themselves. “Although a self-driving vehicle is one potential outcome of this technological revolution, the real value is the ability of technology to reduce and ultimately eliminate vehicle collisions, injuries, and fatalities,” Paluch said.

Some 60% of cars are expected to have connected features by 2016. “We’re all going to share information, because while we remain in competition (for consumers) the key to security issues is collaboration,” says Schostek. Among other technologies on display Thursday were a suite of Honda robotics coups, including its UNI-CUB, which looks like a small stool but acts like a Segway in that it intuitively reacts to a user’s body language to generate movement. In the parking lot of the new Honda’s R&D center, which isn’t far from autonomous-car pioneers Google, were a series of demos showcasing more auto-related tech. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers’ own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs.

Another demo showcased prototype technology designed by Honda and Qualcomm that alerts car drivers and distracted pedestrians simultaneously of each other’s whereabouts. Using WiFi-like DSRC, or a dedicated short range communication band – drivers get a sonic and visual alert on their windshield when a pedestrian is headed toward the vehicle (including a small icon indicating whether the pedestrian is texting or talking on the phone) while the walker gets an alert on the phone or through earbuds. “There are so many areas to work on, including connected cars, HMI (human machine interaction), big data, apps, but the bottom line is they’re all ways to improve human mobility,” says Paluch. “The culture here in the valley is one of passionate innovation around a goal.

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