Japanese automobile manufacturer Honda has announced its collaboration with Cruise, an autonomous vehicle unit of General Motors (GM), for the development of self-driving vehicles for its autonomous vehicle (AV) mobility service (MaaS) business in Japan.

Under the new partnership, Cruise will be sending its self-driving test vehicles to Japan while beginning development for testing this year.

Honda Motor’s president and representative director Takahiro Hachigo said: “This collaboration with Cruise will enable the creation of new value for mobility and people’s daily lives, which we strive for under Honda’s 2030 Vision of serving people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential.

“Through active collaboration with partners who share the same interests and aspirations, Honda will continue to accelerate the realisation of our autonomous vehicle MaaS business in Japan.”

In October 2018, Honda signed an agreement to acquire a 5.7%, $750m stake in Cruise and also agreed to contribute $2bn to the autonomous vehicle project over the next 12 years.

Honda said that it intends to launch its MaaS business using the Cruise Origin, a vehicle that is being developed by the three companies for autonomous vehicle mobility service businesses.

Established last February, Honda Mobility Solutions Co will be the operator of the MaaS business.

Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said: “Cruise’s mission to provide safer, cleaner and more accessible transportation is not limited to the US. These are major changes that are needed almost everywhere in the world, and this is a small, but symbolic step with Honda on our global journey.”

In another development, Cruise and General Motors partnered with Microsoft to fast-track the commercialisation of self-driving vehicles.

As part of the partnership, the companies will be focusing on combining software, hardware engineering expertise, Cloud computing capabilities, manufacturing know-how and partner ecosystems to transform transportation into a safer and cleaner sector.