After seeing success of their international counterparts, American made Honda Odysseys are being modified to help transport coronavirus patients.
With the onset of Coronavirus worldwide, Honda, along with other automakers in the United States, have diverted their resources to address safety needs across the country. With automotive production having been shut down, Honda has taken part in the creation and assembly of ventilator parts, 3D printed face masks, and also a massive donation of roughly two hundred-thousand components of personal protective gear such as gloves, masks, respirators, and other equipment acting as physical barriers and disinfecting agents.
While the Honda Odyssey was created with families in mind, whether it be a weekend getaway, a school trip or transportation to a soccer game, the Odyssey can fit the needs of people looking for a large amount of space. Bearing that in mind, Honda has shipped 10 Honda Odysseys by request of Detroit officials as well as those of the State of Michigan in order to ease the transportation needs of Coronavirus patients as well as front-line healthcare workers. In Japan, these vehicles have been modified to meet such needs.
The intent of changing over the interiors of the Honda Odyssey was to assist in the carrying of patients to Detroit’s TCF center, which was the original location of this year’s Detroit Auto Show. Due to the Coronavirus, however, that and many other events have been cancelled. TCF center is now an acting field hospital for those impacted by the contagion.
The Challenge? The modifications don’t carry over from Japanese-manufactured Hondas as the two represent different size specifications, the Japanese model being much smaller. Honda was tasked with devising a system for its American-made cars that could carry out an essential purpose.
Done inside Honda’s own manufacturing location in Raymond, Ohio over the course of about two weeks, engineers and other experts were able to modify the Odyssey to meet the needs of physical barriers to stop the spread of coronavirus and enable safe transport. These changes involved two main components of modification: Modification of the air systems as well as the installation of a physical barrier.
The physical barrier placed just behind the front seats separating them from potentially infected passengers was fitted with specialized plastic brackets. The ventilation modifications however were substantially more complicated, and with alterations done with the vehicle’s software they were able to create an air-pressure differential between the front and rear of the van, and ensuring that air from the rear of the vehicle was blown outside of the car instead of recirculated.
Both elements of these adjustments to the vehicle are of a similar approach to medical centers and specialized disease facilities to stop the spread of contagions, taking special precautions to minimize or even eliminate the number of airborne droplets that can circulate in an enclosed environment.