Honda are keen to embrace the new world of totally connected cars, and so have announced today that all forthcoming models will feature advanced connectivity technologies. There’s in-car WiFi, simpler touchscreen dashboards, EV charging status and an AI-powered voice assistant just like Alexa. But more Honda, obviously.
The first example of this commitment is the availability of the My Honda+ application and Honda Personal Assistant on Honda e and all-new Jazz and Jazz Crosstar.
Tom Gardner, Senior Vice President, Honda Motor Europe, commented, “Today’s customer expects their vehicle to connect seamlessly with their wider life. Honda’s development of next-generation connectivity can clearly be seen with the launch of features such as Honda Personal Assistant and My Honda+. We are committed to widening the availability of these features to meet the expectation of our customer.”
OK, What Can The My Honda+ app Actually Do?
The smartphone-based service has been redesigned with a simple, intuitive user experience that provides secure access to a range of in-car functions, including comfort, convenience and security features.
The My Honda+ app offers full control of vehicle security, including Remote Vehicle Lock and Unlock of the car. For Honda e owners, an additional Digital Key function allows vehicle access to be securely shared with up to five others. That’s a handy feature if you and your family do lots of online shopping, as the car can be unlocked for package delivery.
Digital Key works via Bluetooth and enables owners to remotely close windows and open the charge lid as well as locking and unlocking the vehicle.
In the unlikely event of a vehicle breakdown, My Honda+ includes a ‘Digital Roadside Assistance’ feature. This allows customers to make a direct call to their subscribed roadside assistance provider with their vehicle (GPS) details automatically shared. The app also provides location monitoring and car tracking via GPS. Intelligent Geofencing can be activated to alert the owner if the vehicle breaches a pre-set ‘geofence’ zone and to further strengthen vehicle security, a notification is delivered to the smartphone app if the car’s security alarm is activated.
For added security all vehicles feature E-Call for roadside assistance as standard. In the event of an emergency, such as airbag deployment, the car’s location is automatically shared with the relevant emergency services. This is an interesting point for insurers, as it SHOULD mean that they will receive an update too, unless the data is ring-fenced of course.
The app also provides Honda e owners with access to EV-specific functions. This includes Remote Battery Charge Control and Scheduler, which monitors the car’s charging status and allows charging to be started or paused remotely.
A charging calendar function allows charging times to be set on a daily schedule, allowing charging to occur when the most cost-effective energy tariffs are available. Honda e owners can also remotely access the car’s climate control system and set the temperature to either cooler, normal and warmer before they enter the vehicle.
Honda Personal Assistant with AI – Yes, You Can Shout At Some Yorkshire Tea Sue!
Infotainment and connectivity features in Honda e and Jazz can be activated using voice commands through Honda Personal Assistant. First seen in the Honda e and now available on the all-new Jazz, the intuitive Honda Personal Assistant is a smart artificial intelligence (AI) agent which harnesses natural, smart instruction-based conversations and contextual understanding to access a range of online services.
Honda Personal Assistant assesses command inputs with a level of complexity beyond the capabilities of other voice activated virtual assistants. The system is capable of understanding multiple requests at any one time, for more exact responses to specific queries.
An owner can ask, for example: “OK Honda, find me an Italian restaurant with free parking, WiFi, that is open now.” The Honda Personal Assistant locates suitable options and presents them on the touchscreen interface, before plotting the optimal route to the chosen location and displaying it on the navigation screen.
New intuitive connectivity
Honda Personal Assistant is just one feature of Honda’s redesigned infotainment systems. Both cars feature simple-to-use LCD touchscreen interfaces, designed to minimise driver distraction. In the Jazz, the simplification of the menu navigation has reduced operation time for the most regularly used controls by 58%, compared with the previous model, providing a safer operating experience. To support this, Honda has reinstated physical controls for key functions, with tactile, ergonomic dials for heating and ventilation settings across the range.
Honda interfaces are navigated using familiar smartphone-style usability, with swipe controls to browse through recently used applications and media lists. Displays can be configured to suit user preference, incorporating customisable shortcuts to frequently used functions and audio sources.
Both Honda e and Jazz also feature a WiFi hotspot capability, allowing passengers access to the internet. For Honda e owners, occupants can watch video content on one of the screens during charging sessions, while the second screen shows the charging status.
To achieve optimum stress-free ownership, Honda will deliver over-the-air updates to ensure that features and apps benefit from enhancements and new functions. The owner’s manual can also be easily accessed via the infotainment system. Honda Personal Assistant will open the owner’s manual on the relevant page to provide an answer.