Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo has created a new division at the firm to measure human perception of how a car performs, with the goal of prioritising its findings over the computer-generated measurement data that dominates car development.
The new division has already created a test car based around the Honda Civic four-door saloon to demonstrate its findings, and says its work is focused on improving responsiveness, stability and vibration isolation.
Modifications on the Civic prototype include establishing a more linear and light steering feel and more direct pedal response. To this end, steering response has been modified to react to smaller, micro-inputs, the suspension and longitudinal springs have been modified to improve stability and amplify lateral forces, and vibrations have been isolated by adjusting the positioning of bushings within the undercarriage and using lower-resonance members and subframe components to reduce noise transmission.
“In an increasingly digital world, Honda recognises that humans still receive, process and react in an analogue manner,” said Hachigo. “We are seeking to refocus attention on how and what the human body actually perceives through vehicle dynamics, and on developing production vehicles that incorporate the learnings from its research.”
However, Honda engineers working on the project were not able to say when the developments would make production, saying only that they were “very excited” by them and that they would be launched “very soon”.