Honda Awards Advanced Research Grants to Seven U.S. Universities
Honda Initiation Grant Program Marks 10th Anniversary

Honda (www.honda.com) today awarded $50,000 advanced research grants to professors at seven U.S. universities at the 10th anniversary of the Honda Initiation Grant program (www.hondagrant.com) and Technical Horizon Symposium held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. As part of the focus on advanced research and technology, Honda demonstrated the latest running version of its humanoid robot ASIMO (asimo.honda.com), as well as other advanced technologies.

Honda established research and development operations in America more than 30 years ago and today has 13 major R&D facilities in the U.S. focused on complete product development for automobiles, motorcycles and other products as well as advanced research. The Honda Initiation Grant program was established in 1997 to foster collaborative research activity between Honda R&D engineers in the U.S. and members of the academic community in North America.

The goal of the Honda Initiation Grant program is to fund innovative ideas in the early stages of research that are likely to make valuable contributions to technology over a longer term of five to ten years. Over the past decade, Honda has awarded 75 research grants to professors at universities throughout North America focused on the development of cutting-edge technologies in the areas of environmental technology, fundamental material science, computer science and humanoid robotics, advanced safety technology, intelligent vehicle technology and aviation.

The 2007 class of Honda Initiation Grant recipients was selected from 300 grant submissions, and includes the following seven professors and universities:

  • Dr. Marcelo Dapino of The Ohio State University: for the use of smart material technology for an adaptive seat belt system
  • Tarek El Dokor of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: for development of holographic instrument panel controls and display
  • Dr. Pu-Xian Gao of the University of Connecticut: for study of nano-catalysts for automotive emissions control systems
  • Dr. David Jacobs of the University of Maryland: for the study of enhanced facial recognition computer algorithms for humanoid robotics
  • Dr. Yaoyu Li of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: for the optimization of power management for plug-in hybrid vehicles when common route driving
  • Paul McGinn of the University of Notre Dame: for enhanced design and performance of fuel cells
  • Dr. Rafael Piestun of the University of Colorado: for enhanced robotic recognition techniques of 3-dimensional images

Honda has provided additional funding to some Honda Initiation Grant recipients based on promising research. A number of grant recipients have begun to make contributions to Honda products and research efforts, including Dr. John Renauld, a professor of mechanical engineering at Notre Dame University and 2004 grant winner, who attended the 2007 Technical Horizon Symposium to share his experience with the 2007 Honda Initiation Grant recipients.

Based on a study of living organisms Dr. Renauld developed a next-generation collision simulation model that more accurately predicts vehicle behavior in a collision and is being applied to future automotive products developed by Honda in the U.S.

Information concerning grant submissions for the 2008 Honda Initiation Grant program will be announced in February 2008.

About Honda Research Institute USA, Inc.

Honda Research Institute was founded in 2003, to focus on longer term research and discovery in order to innovate Honda's current and future products. Honda Research Institute maintains three U.S. offices dedicated to the fields of material science (focused on novel functional nano-materials), computer science research (focused on human-level intelligence) and strategic venturing (investing in early-to-mid stage technology venture companies which would create strategic synergy with Honda).

About Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

Honda R&D Americas began its operation in 1975 with local market research activities and has steadily grown its capabilities over the past three decades to include all aspects of new vehicle design and development. The company operates 9 major R&D facilities in the U.S. with more than 1,300 designers, engineers, and support personnel engaged in the complete development and testing of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products for North America and global markets. Current products developed by Honda R&D Americas include the Honda Civic Coupe, Pilot, Element and Ridgeline and the Acura TL and MDX; the Honda TRX400EX all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and the Honda HRX217 walk behind lawn mower.

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