The Car Navigation System / 1981

Gyro Research: The World's First Automotive Navigation System

The Car Navigation System / 1981

Behind the Success of the CVCC Engine

The automobile, according to a well-known joke in Japan, is "a third-class machine." But the logic of such a statement is not without some truth, however, since the car is utterly dependent on human control. A car cannot move unless the driver tells it to do so. Moreover, people must undergo twenty to thirty hours of training before they are able to operate a car safely. Therefore, in essence the joke is saying that no other machine demands such a degree of human attention. However, it also infers that there is some other potential direction in automotive technology, which is in a way quite true. The world had finally come to believe, and indeed expect, that the car could function in a more intuitive, intelligent manner.

Behind the Success of the CVCC Engine

Honda's Electro Gyrocator - the world's first navigation system for use in a car

The automotive industry experienced rapid progress during the 1970s, especially in terms of electronics technology. A major factor in that progress were the emission-control regulations, which were getting more stringent with each passing year. Many car makers were busy attempting to use electronics to resolve the issues that were keeping them out of conformance with the requirements. Ultimately, though, the industry's electronics control technologies were applied to a broad range of automotive components, including transmissions and meters, thus creating a new field of endeavor known as "car electronics."

Throughout this period, Honda was actively engaged in the development of its newest engine concept, the CVCC. The reason for this was simple: Honda knew its CVCC engine would meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act of 1970, a bill enacted by the U.S. Congress. Indeed, the new powerplant was a surprise to the entire auto industry, demonstrating the high standard of refinement that Honda's engine development technologies had achieved.

The field of car electronics was moving forward, however, leaving Honda behind. While Honda had successfully developed a very efficient, clean-running engine that short detour had distracted Honda R&D from other pressing needs for the immediate future. Therefore, in 1976, Katsutoshi Tagami, who was in charge of portable generator developments for power products, was called by Honda R&D Center's Senior Managing Director Tadashi Kume, who said, "I want you to take charge of electrical equipment for automobiles."

Tagami was given the order to run the Eighth Research Block, more commonly known as the Electrical Equipment Research Group. Tagami, who had never before considered having any involvement in cars, was thoroughly surprised.

"Your role," Kume explained, "is to bring us up to the level of other manufacturers and eventually get a step ahead of them."

Kume, having seen the astounding progress the industry had made with regard to electronics technologies, was seriously concerned about the company's ability to compete in that regard. He knew electronics technology was becoming an integral part of engine development.

The development of electrical equipment at Honda had always been left to outside specialists who could manufacturer and supply the required parts. Accordingly, the outside development of such engine systems would require that all of Honda's engine specifications be disclosed to the suppliers. This was clearly unacceptable to Honda, whose business was founded on engine technology. Kume's wish to "get one step ahead of them" reflected his determination to resolve the matter.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

1990 - 1999
  1. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
  2. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  3. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  4. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  5. Hosting Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991
  6. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
1980 - 1989
  1. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  2. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  3. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
  4. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  7. Formula One Entry / 1983Formula One Entry / 1983
  8. Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982
  9. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  10. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  11. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  12. City / 1981City / 1981
  13. The F200 The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
  14. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
1970 - 1979
  1. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  2. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  3. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  4. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  5. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  6. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
  7. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  8. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  9. Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973
  10. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  11. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  12. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
  13. Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970
1960 - 1969
  1. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  2. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  5. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  6. Formula One Entry / 1964Formula One Entry / 1964
  7. Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963
  8. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  9. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  10. Employing the Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
  11. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
1950 - 1959
  1. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959

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