"A System That Cannot Lie"

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<< 4. Gyrocator Development: A Path Strewn with Difficulties
<< 5. Could the Map Be Wrong?
<< 6. The Final Test: From Suzuka to Tokyo
<< 7. The Challenge of Digitization
<< 8. "A System That Cannot Lie"
<< 9. Analog to Digital: A Three-year Detour Leads to the Goal
 


The process of development was never easy, and there were many turns in the road. One major obstacle was the lack of appropriate media for data storage. When Honda first digitized maps, there was no media in the world that could store such vast amounts of data. After all, this was a time when standards for the compact disc were being established, and Honda's tests were using 8-inch floppy disks. The volume of data was so huge that to store the information from maps comprising all of Japan would require several hundred disks.

Another obstacle was Honda's uncompromising stance toward the development of next-generation navigation systems. For both digital and analog systems, the development team had been asked to take the performance to the absolute limit. Kawamoto, who had earlier been promoted to vice-president at Honda R&D, often instructed his staff to "please develop a system that cannot lie."

A system that does not lie obviously means an infallible one. For example, a calculator that could not compute the correct results would not sell. The same logic applies to navigation systems. Customers wanted perfect systems, so the development staff faced tremendous pressure. In those days, Nakamura would often have dreams about evaluation tests, and in those dreams the car would deviate farther and farther away from the target route, right in front of Kawamoto. He would panic, only to wake up and find it was a dream. It was sheer torture for him.
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