Tried & Tested

Tested: Roofnest Sparrow rooftop tent for SUVs, crossovers

The Roofnest Sparrow rooftop tent fits snugly on the Honda Passport.

Photo by Nicole Wakelin

The 2019 Honda Passport splits the size difference between the CR-V and the Pilot, giving those with an adventurous spirit a more rugged two-row SUV to shop for. Honda recently highlighted that idea by customizing a Honda Passport Elite with all-wheel drive to include a higher ride height, underbody cladding, and larger tires. It also put a Roofnest tent on top for a unique way to stop for the night.

AutomotiveMap put the Roofnest Sparrow, which retails for $2,795 and comfortably sleeps two adults, to the test. The Sparrow collapses to 11 inches and expands to 85" by 50" with canvas sides. A collapsible ladder attaches to the bottom shell for easy access, although adding duct tape to the rungs to prevent slipping is a good idea.

Roofnest Sparrow on a 2019 Honda Passport

Photo by Nicole Wakelin

The Roofnest rests on the Honda Passport's roof rails.

Opening this Roofnest is easy and requires only one person. Pistons hidden inside the tent do the bulk of the work, but those on the shorter side might find opening the door and standing on the sill necessary to reach all four clips

Each side has a zippered panel to let in fresh air and there's a soft mattress on the floor that's easily as comfortable as an air mattress. There's room for sleeping bags, necessities, and a handy net on the roof to hang things you want within easy reach, but out of the way.

The trickiest part of the Roofnest is closing it up, which calls for two people. Pull down the front strap, secure the front clips, then pull a similar strap in back to partially collapse the tent. Next, tuck in the fabric sides and slowly pull the front fully closed.

Since it needs to be collapsed before driving, the Roofnest isn't ideal for those who plan to be in one spot for a weekend and drive to favorite hiking trails. If, however, you're on the go and want to stop anytime and anywhere, then the Roofnest is an appealing option.

Roofnest tents aren't just for the Honda Passport. The company offers a number of tent options that can be placed on top of more robust SUVs including the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota FJ Cruiser, and even crossovers like the Subaru Crosstrek.

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Honda is working with Verizon on self-driving cars technology.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

The Mcity campus was designed to be a proving ground for new technologies. Honda and Verizon are utilizing it as such as they partner to explore how Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) can be used to ensure quick and reliable communication between road infrastructure, vehicles, and pedestrians.

The 5G technology leverages cloud technology to deliver lower latency, a large amount of bandwidth, and improved communication. This communication includes the way that vehicles interact with ther cars, traffic lights, pedestrians and emergency vehicles to improve threat detection and avoid accidents when seconds matter most. That's where the "V2" in acronyms like "V2V" (vehicle-to-vehicle) and "V2X" (vehicle- to-everything).

Honda and Verizon Test How 5G Enhances Safety for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles www.youtube.com

Honda has been working since 2017 to develop a technology that will help to create a collision-free society. The technology, called Safe Swarm, uses V2X communication to enable vehicles to communicate with other road users and share key information such as location, speed, and vehicle sensor data.

There are some obstacles, not the least of which is the need to outfit each vehicle with onboard artificial intelligence capabilities. The use of 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle.

"The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real-time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights," said Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon. "When you consider that roughly 42,000 people were killed in car accidents last year and 94% of accidents are caused by human error, our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers 'see' things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives."

Three safety scenarios have been explored as part of the testing:

  • Pedestrian Scenario - A pedestrian is crossing a street at an intersection. An approaching driver cannot see the pedestrian due to a building obstructing the view. Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relay information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon's MEC and V2X software platforms detect the pedestrian and vehicle and determine the precise location of road users assisted by Verizon's Hyper Precise Location services. A visual warning message is then sent alerting the driver of the potential danger.
  • Emergency Vehicle Warning Scenari - A driver cannot see an approaching emergency vehicle and cannot hear its siren due to the high volume of in-vehicle audio. Verizon's MEC and V2X software receive a safety message from the emergency vehicle and send a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver receives a visual warning.
  • Red Light Runner Scenario - A vehicle fails to stop at a red light. Using data from the smart cameras, MEC and V2X software detect the vehicle and send a red-light-runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection.

You can watch the video of Honda and Verizon's Mcity tests at http://honda.us/5GResearch.

Honda isn't the only company exploring what 5G communication can offer. Pirelli has installed the tech in its tires and BMW recently updated its My BMW app to make it compatible with the new technology. Audi is working on similar technology out on the road in Virginia and Georgia.

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