Japanese carmaker Honda Motor Co is to partner Boston University for joint research collaboration in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
With the emergence of digital technologies including AI, Honda says it foresees a growing possibility to create value in a wider range of fields beyond its current businesses.
Responding to such changes in the business environment, in addition to its continuous pursuit of the art of making things (Mono-zukuri), Honda aims to take on new challenges in enhancing new value and experiences (Koto-zukuri) with the holistic goal "to make people's lives more enjoyable using AI technology."
The company looks to develop AI that cooperates with people in the following areas:
- Empower: expand the potential of people.
- Share experience: accommodate and grow together with people.
- Empathise: be capable of understanding and relating to the emotions of people.
Boston University and Honda have set up a committee to coordinate and structure the collaboration. This committee includes Dr. Azer Bestavros, Distinguished Professor of the Computer Science Department at Boston University and founding director of Boston University Hariri Institute for Computing, and Dr. Bernhard Sendhoff, Head of Global Operations of HRI and president of HRI Europe.
A first research project will investigate data privacy control, using a technology called secure multi-party computation. Currently, personalised services such as recommender systems have become common in our daily lives. These systems typically share personal data of users, often without their knowledge and control.
Developing data security technologies
The goal of the collaborative research project is to create data security technologies that enable users to control which data can be shared with systems and which cannot.
Commenting on the partnership, Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer, said: “Boston University is delighted to be entering this important and promising partnership with the Honda Research Institute. For a global research university of BU's scale, privacy is an area of study that uniquely connects so many diverse disciplines, from computer and data sciences to the social sciences, humanities, and healthcare, making it a great example of convergent research. We believe this partnership will be a model for future academic-industrial collaborations, opening exciting new opportunities for research that benefit both institutions and advance societal good."
Dr. Bernhard Sendhoff, Head of Global Operations of HRI and president of HRI Europe, said: “The synergy between Boston University's world-class research in data security and privacy and our approach and our experience in Cooperative Intelligence will enable significant progress to provide people with both confidence and trust in intelligent systems of the future."