TOKYO — Japan is about to get two high-tech imports from Detroit, courtesy of Honda Motor Co.’s deepening partnership with General Motors.
The Japanese carmaker said last week that the self-driving car startup Cruise, a GM unit in which Honda has invested, will send over its Chevrolet Bolt-based autonomous vehicle as well as the Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle.
Honda will receive the first Bolt-based test vehicle, called the Cruise AV, this year for further assessment and development in Japan. After that, Honda plans to start a mobility-as-a-service enterprise in Japan using the Origin, a boxy people mover.
The Japan-bound Cruise AV will be built at GM’s Orion Township plant outside Detroit. Production of the Origin, jointly developed by Cruise, GM and Honda, is expected to begin at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant as early as this year.
Honda spokeswoman Yu Kitagawa said Honda was discussing details and that it was too early to say how many Cruise vehicles will be used or when the programs begin.
Honda’s announcement came as GM and Microsoft outlined $2 billion in fresh investments in Cruise, which GM acquired in 2016. The funding will help Cruise leverage Microsoft’s cloud computing firepower.