Honda acquires app developer Drivemode to beef up connected mobility arm

Honda has acquired Drivemode, a provider of applications which encourage safe driving across the connected car landscape.

The two companies have been collaborators since 2015, with Drivemode conducting joint development activities with Honda’s research and development team. The initiatives were part of Honda Xcelerator, a program designed for innovators across all funding stages.

Drivemode’s flagship product is its safer driving app, which enables users to safely use voice-enabled commands and integrate with a variety of other applications, from navigation apps to music and messaging. The app has clocked up more than 2.5 million downloads across 150 countries.

The company will sit within Honda’s R&D branch among the newly-created Digital Solution Center. In the lofty words of the press materials, the move will ‘accelerate new value creation in the area of connected mobility services, which will contribute to Honda’s vision to serve people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential.’

“As a step toward the realisation of value creation for mobility and enhancing people’s daily lives, which is an integral part of Honda’s 2030 vision, we decided to further enhance our collaborative relationship with Drivemode,” said Honda president of R&D Toshihiro Mobe in a statement. “We are confident that new value creation will become possible when Drivemode’s outstanding human resources, innovative software technologies and extensive experience as a venture company are combined with Honda’s product development technology and capability.

“We will strive to offer connected services which will please our customers while leveraging our respective strengths,” added Mobe.

The connected car landscape is becoming more cut-and-thrust with each passing quarter. Many of Honda’s initiatives, as can be seen with the Drivemode acquisition, are focused on in-car activity; a deal with Amazon for delivery service in July, and a revamped infotainment service unveiled at this year’s CES.

Perhaps the company’s most intriguing development from a technical perspective was its ‘smart intersection’ technology unveiled this time last year, wherein Honda’s vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) system passes data from the roadside to the car. Honda estimated that almost one in five traffic deaths in the US each year occur at intersections.

Financial terms of the Drivemode acquisition were not disclosed.

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