Honda gets its mojo back

  @FortuneMagazine July 25, 2013: 7:24 AM ET
HON12 2013 civic

2013 Honda civic: The company rushed the current model into production to reverse corner-cutting measures it had made with the previous year's car.


Miimo, a robotic lawn mower, is hard at work on a patch of grass at Honda's California office campus south of Los Angeles. About the size of a throw pillow, the electric-powered device scurries about in a random pattern, quietly cutting the grass with no human operator in sight. The boundaries of its activity are delimited by a buried cable. Miimo is said to be able to trim a lawn half the size of a football field, periodically looping back to its docking station to recharge its battery.

Miimo is a creation of R&D engineers at Honda. The company has 14 R&D facilities in North America that develop automobiles as well as motorcycles and other kinds of vehicles; one of them is just steps away from the lawn-mowing demonstration. Here, some 1,100 engineers work in passkey-protected offices closed to other Honda employees, designing and engineering new vehicles.

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