Concerns rife over information leaks from Honda Motor

Updated : 23.05.2017 / Category Capsule

There is rising concern within Honda Motor Co., Ltd. over the possibility of information leaks as a result of the Japanese automaker's joint development of driverless car technology with Google subsidiary Waymo LLC.

Honda announced its tie-up with Google in December with an eye on joint autonomous car development that would use Honda's vehicles and Waymo's software. The deal left many people at Honda--and outside the company--scratching their heads, as Honda has been developing driverless technologies on its own. Honda R&D Co., Ltd., a subsidiary tasked with developing all Honda vehicles, is especially alarmed by the tie-up.

Honda R&D accumulated a wealth of data pertaining to driverless cars. Big data, including real-time driving conditions collected through high-tech equipment in Honda cars, is regarded as a "treasure trove" that also can be used for other future businesses, according to an economic magazine reporter. Many researchers within Honda R&D are worried such data will end up in Google's hands.

Honda R&D held a meeting to try to alleviate the researchers' concerns, according to an insider. However, explanations given at the meeting were "as vague as, 'There will be no information leaking out.'" The researchers' concerns were not allayed in the slightest.

Observers question if Honda is willing to do its utmost to protect its big data, and express concern over the protection of "top-notch data possessed by the auto industry."

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This is a translation of an article from the May 2017 issue of Sentaku.