Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Videos of Uber self-driving car accident

It's been released for some days already but just in case anyone have not seen it yet, the youtube link is one of many which contains the video footage released by the police from both the dashcam and the internal cam of the Volvo that was used by Uber's self-driving car test program which hit and killed a pedestrian.

Over the days since the release of the video, I have read quite a few articles and there have been many comments made by people on their personal opinions on the incident. Here, I will NOT put out any of my own opinions but instead will just offer a couple of observations to remind readers of the unique/unusual perspectives of this incident.

1. The most common comment I have read has consistently been how dark the road is and how the pedestrian could not be seen until the last minute. Some have even made comments about her crossing illegally. Almost all universally admitted that they themselves would not have stopped in time because visibility was so bad and the pedestrian was only seen right at the last couple of seconds.

Point : The road -is- indeed very dark. However, it is also one way. And there was virtually no traffic ahead. Under the circumstances, many people, certainly car-nuts will be having their -HIGH BEAM- on. A properly aligned high-beam would illuminate way ahead of the car in such a situation, improving forward visibility tremendously.  At the minimum, if available (and most car nuts would have them), lower front fog-lights will definitely on which would illuminate the surface of the road for a great distance ahead. 

Why the Uber Volvo was still driving with low beams is probably something to be explained by the Uber team themselves but perhaps it might be related to the 2nd point below.

2. Most comments are from the perspective of the human driver, and is based on human sight and reaction times. I.e. people admits because it came so sudden and so quickly, they too wouldn't have been able to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

Point : The thing is the Uber Volvo is not relying solely on visible light for its operation. A check with Uber's website showed plenty of comments about its use of LIDAR as one of many sensors. LIDAR is based on laser in an invisibile spectrum of light. Additionally because the laser is not visible to the human eye, could it likely be angled higher and now so low as a normal car headlight in low-beam mode ? That would have a greater 'front visibility' for the car's driving computer. 

Additionally, a car in the Volvo's market segment would usually also be equipped with numerous other latest safety technology, in particular Collision Mitigation technology and many manufacturers are even putting out pedestrian avoidance type technology. As the video commentators noted, one of the biggest issue authorities have is why the Uber Volvo showed no signs of stopping or even slowing down at all. It's as if the self-driving front sensors totally did not detect the pedestrian which of course be a most worrisome thing.

Keeping at least these two points in mind (definitely there are more to consider but we only cover these two here) would likely be useful to understand the angle and logic from where the final judgement from the authorities are made when they become available.

The youtube video below is from ABC (a US TV network). The anchor image above is also taken from the ABC online website.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Honda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. today announced the results of an outstanding year in 2017. The Company recorded total sales of 109,511 units, the highest in the history of Honda Malaysia since it was established in 2003. This is also the first time that Honda Malaysia achieved sales of more than 100,000 units. This sales figure is also the highest that a Non-National brand has ever achieved in Malaysia.

The Central region contributed the highest percentage of sales at 47%, followed by Southern region and Northern region. The overall sales for 2017 increased by 19% compared to the 91,830 units recorded in year 2016.

Commenting on the outstanding year that Honda experienced, Honda Malaysia Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Toichi Ishiyama said, “The year 2017 truly was remarkable for Honda Malaysia. At the beginning of 2017, we challenged ourselves with a sales target of 100,000 units and in March 2017, we achieved a historical milestone with the 600,000th unit (CKD) production within the span of 14 years since Honda Malaysia started in 2003. At the end of 2017, based on internal data our market share was at 19%, an increase of 3.2 points from 2016. For the first time ever, we surpassed the 100,000 units sales achievement within a calendar year. We continue to maintain our No. 1 position for Non-National segment and No. 2 position in overall TIV of the automotive industry.”

“On behalf of Honda Malaysia, I would like to extend our sincerest appreciation and thankfulness to all Honda Malaysia customers for their faith and belief in our brand and for making Honda their vehicle of choice. This achievement would not have been possible without our valued customers as well as strong support from our business partners and the Malaysian government,” added Mr. Ishiyama.

Having reviewed an outstanding 2017, Honda Malaysia is all geared up to make 2018 another successful year with many exciting products and services in the pipeline. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Honda Takes New Approach with Insight Prototype Debuting at 2018 North American International Auto Show

This news is for the U.S. market but I would expect the new G3 Insight to be showing up around the world in a short while after.

TORRANCE, Calif., Dec. 19, 2017 - The Honda Insight Prototype will make its world debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 15, 2018 as the precursor to the all-new 2019 Honda Insight - an upscale, stylish five-passenger sedan positioned above the Civic in Honda's passenger car lineup. The all-new Insight utilizes the latest generation of Honda's innovative two-motor hybrid system and will launch next summer as the newest electrified vehicle in the Honda lineup.
"With its sophisticated styling, dynamic stance, ample interior space and best-in-class performance, the all-new Insight embodies Honda's approach to creating electrified vehicles without the typical tradeoffs," said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of Automobile Sales and general manager of the Honda Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.  "You won't have to be an electrification advocate to appreciate the new Insight - it's a great car in its own right, independent of what's happening under the hood."
Introduced in 1999, the first-generation Insight was America's first hybrid vehicle and a technological tour de force with optimized aerodynamics and a lightweight aluminum structure. As a result, the 2-door Insight launched as the most fuel-efficient EPA certified gasoline-fueled vehicle with a highway rating of 70 miles per gallon. It was the first Honda vehicle to utilize Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system.
The second-generation Insight made its debut in 2009 as the most affordable hybrid on the market. With its 5-door, 5-passenger design, the second-gen Insight offered increased space and utility while continuing to employ the IMA hybrid system.
The all-new 2019 Insight takes an entirely new approach with the styling, packaging, premium features and performance desired by mainstream car buyers - a hybrid vehicle without any inherent compromise. Unlike the first two generations of Insight, the all-new model will be powered by Honda's two-motor hybrid system offering fuel economy that is competitive with other compact hybrid models.
"At the 2017 North American International Auto Show we announced our Honda Electrification Initiative with the intention to make two-thirds of Honda's global vehicle sales electrified vehicles by 2030," said Arcangeli, "With the Insight launching later in 2018 as the fifth electrified vehicle brought to market over the past year, we're demonstrating our commitment to that goal."
The Insight - to be manufactured at Honda's Greensburg, Indiana plant, alongside Civic and CR-V using domestic and globally sourced parts - will join the Clarity series (Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid) and the all-new 2018 Accord Hybrid, arriving at dealerships nationwide early next year.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Malaysia Autoshow 2017

The Malaysian Autoshow is here, running from tomorrow, Nov 9th till the end of this week Nov 12th. Organized by the Malaysia Automotive Institute, this year's show is the biggest yet held. Venue wise, it has also been shifted from previous years, and is now being held at the Malaysia Argo Exposition Park (MAEPS) located in Sepang.

A total of 150 exhibitors (including lifestyle manufacturers) have registered and will be exhibiting in the Autoshow. Almost all the car manufacturers will be at the show. One key feature of this year's show is the new venue actually has two test-tracks, one on-road and one off-road. As a result, visitors to this year's show will be able to test-drive numerous cars at the venue itself. Honda Malaysia for e.g., will be bringing almost their complete range of models to the show and Honda fans will be able to test-drive most of the models.

This means that the person who is currently shopping for a new car will find the Autoshow the near perfect event as he or she can check-out all the cars under consideration and possibly also test-drive all of them for comparison, all in one place. To facilitate the decision and the final buying process (in case the person wants to complete the purchase there and then as well), MAI has arranged for free valuation for the person's current car as well as a panel financier (Public Bank Berhad) and a panel insurer (AmInsure). With this, one can literally shop around, compare, test-drive and buy a new car all in the Autoshow itself.

Other than just enjoying the cars on display, MAI has also arranged for many attractions for the show, one of them being a free 39 points inspection of their cars. As usual, various lucky draws are also on offer, including the grand prize of a Peugeot 208 for one lucky visitor to the show.

Unique Experiences

Honda fans will probably know about the newest technology Honda is display which is "Honda Sensing". This is a collection of technology based features which enhances the driving experience and safety and includes features such as "lane keep" and Adaptive Auto-cruise. In a normal test-drive on public roads, it's going to be a bit difficult for one to test out these features. But in the Autoshow, Honda has a special "Honda Sensing Technology Experience" exhibit where visitors will be shown by trained drivers the various features. In yesterday's Honda Malaysia "Deepavali" event, media members were given the chance to experience Honda Sensing technology in the form of a short test-drive of the new Honda Accord 2.4 VTi-L Advanced model. A trained driver took me for a spin in an old-airfield in Putrajaya and conduct two demonstrations for Lane-Keep and Adaptive Auto-Cruise for me. I will say that the demo and test-drive was very interesting. For Honda fans, this exhibit should be a must-visit.

A rather unique experience offered in the show is the so-called "Super Car Taxi Ride". Priced at RM30, visitors can get to experience being driven around the show's test track (which is 3km long) in either a Bentley Bentayga or a Ford Mustang GT 5.0. This should be a very popular booth to visit indeed.

Other "unique experiences" includes the "(SUV) Sport Utility Vehicle 4x4 Experience" which similar to the above offers visitors the chance to be driven around the off-road test-track (this one is 200m long) for a fee of RM10. Note however that this experience is only open from the 10th onwards.

Finally there is the "Karting Slalom" competition where visitors can enter to compete in a special Go-Kart race with numerous attractive prices (including a first price of RM2,000 worth of fuel vouchers).

Planning Purposes

To help readers interested to visit the Autoshow plan their visit, below are the layouts of the show venue. Most of the car exhibits are focussed on two main halls. Hall A is where the most of the car exhibits are and is where Honda is located. However, manufacturers BMW, Volvo and Land Rover/Jaguar will be exhibiting in Hall C. Hall C is also where the superbikes will be (courtesy of NAZA Bikes) as well as the special "Classic Cars Collection" exhibit. Mercedes Benz however decided to have their exhibit under tents on the outside of the halls. There is one more exhibit hall, Hall D, and this is where a special car symposium will take place along with the "lifestyle" exhibitors (car accessories, as well as non car related exhibitors). Outside of 'stock' cars, there will be a modified cars and bikes exhibition as well.

The aerial photo below, obviously taken from Google Earth, has been overlaid with locations of the various exhibits.

Further below are the actual layout plans of Halls A and C where almost all the main car exhibits are located (except Mercedes which can be found in the master layout plan above).

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

From the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show : Video and Images of the Honda Sports EV concept

In the Tokyo Motor Show currently on-going, one of the cars on show at the Honda booth is their new "Sports EV" concept car. Below are the video and the images that Honda provided for this car. 

Honda Sports EV Concept:
Honda exhibited the world premiere of the Honda Sports EV Concept, a concept model which combines EV performance and AI (artificial intelligence) inside a compact body with the aim to realize the joy of driving the user can feel with a sense of unity with the car.

Honda Sports EV Concept video

Honda Sports EV Concept photo and images

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Honda Malaysia today announced a product recall for 2,814 units of HR-V 2016 Year Model due to the possibility that the front stabiliser bar may break under high stress. All other Honda current selling models are not affected by this recall.

According to Honda Malaysia, the stabiliser bar breakage is due to insufficient temperature control during its production process, resulting in compromised strength of the stabiliser bar and thus, leading to possible breakage during high stress. Breakage of the stabiliser bar might cause wheels to be unbalanced, resulting in instability during a drive and the car pulling to the left or right.

As of today, there are no incidences of crashes or injuries related to this issue reported in Malaysia. Honda Malaysia is taking this preemptive measure to ensure customer safety and sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to all affected customers.

All affected front stabiliser bars will be replaced with newly made parts. Currently, Honda Malaysia has 50% of the replacement parts in stock nationwide, and parts availability will be at 100% in mid-November 2017.

Honda Malaysia would like to assure all customers that the company is committed to its mission to maintain the best product performance; hence the proactive measure is being taken to avoid any possible damages or accidents.

All affected customers will be informed via notification letters, which will include details of the product recall. Customers who receive the letter are advised to send their vehicles to the nearest Honda authorised dealer nationwide for inspection and replacement. All cost related to this replacement activity will be borne by Honda Malaysia.

Honda Malaysia strongly encourages all affected customers to replace the affected stabiliser bar urgently once they receive the letter as its breakage can potentially lead to tyre puncture and instability.

Honda customers are urged to check their vehicle recall status either by logging on to www.honda.com.my or www.productrecall.honda.com.my today or by calling the Honda Toll Free number 1-800-88-2020.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Honda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. today announced that Mr. Toichi Ishiyama will be succeeding Mr. Katsuto Hayashi as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Ishiyama will officially assume office in Malaysia on 1 November 2017. He is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Honda Atlas Cars (Pakistan) Limited. The career of Mr. Ishiyama, 48, spans 25 years in Honda in various roles in Japan, USA, Thailand, China and Pakistan. During his assignments in Thailand and China, Mr. Ishiyama delved deep into understanding local markets in relation to automobile. With more than 20 years of experience in researching markets and product planning, Mr. Ishiyama’s forte is an advantage towards ensuring that Honda Malaysia continues its strong momentum as the No.1 Non-National Vehicle Brand and No.2 in overall Total Industry Volume (TIV).

Mr. Ishiyama has indicated that he will continue to focus on total excellence in products and customer experience to emphasise the Joy of Buying for Malaysians. He believes the strategy put in place by Mr. Hayashi will see Honda Malaysia through to another achievement year, reaching the target of 100,000 units in sales for this year.

During his tenure in Malaysia, Mr. Hayashi successfully strengthened Honda Malaysia’s position as the No.1 in Non-National segment and No.2 in overall TIV and in the process, also attained No.1 position in terms of market share among Honda automobile operations worldwide in some of those months. The company achieved the highest local market share in history in March 2017, at 20.5%. Honda Malaysia recorded 100,000 sales units in the fiscal year of April 2016 to March 2017 as well celebrated its historical 600,000th production unit under Mr. Hayashi’s watch.

Preparing Honda Malaysia for the next growth phase, Mr. Hayashi strategically switched focus to offer more Advanced Technology to customers. Under the theme of Next Generation Advanced Technology, turbocharged engine was introduced last year. Mr. Hayashi was praised greatly for the success of the Civic with turbocharged engine variant as an option for Malaysians. Civic was the pioneer mass production Japanese model in Malaysia to be fitted with turbocharged engine to suit local demand.

This focus was further expanded with the launch of Sport Hybrid i-DCD variants, making Malaysia the only country outside of Japan to introduce the highly accepted environmental friendly powertrain that does not compromise the fun-to-drive element of the car. To date, Honda Malaysia is the leader of hybrid segment in Malaysia. Honda Malaysia also introduced the All-New CR-V with Honda SENSING to offer a new level of advanced safety. Meanwhile, the soon-to-be launched All-New Civic Type R 2.0L VTEC Turbocharged, which has been recorded as the fastest front-wheel drive production car, is set to exhilarate customers who demand the thrill and fun of the throttle in their drive. In total, Mr. Hayashi steered Honda Malaysia’s launch of five new models and expansion by four new dealers to a total of 90 Honda dealers nationwide.

Mr. Hayashi who led Honda Malaysia for one and a half years, will be taking on a new role as the General Manager, Overseas Operation Division (Americas), Regional Operation (North America) in Honda Motor Co., Ltd. in Japan.