Honda is already ahead of the competition when it comes to driverless technology. Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta, which sparked a lot of conversation, is only for Level 2 autonomous systems and requires the driver to keep their hands on the wheel at all times. Meanwhile, Honda has already revealed the world’s first Level 3 autonomous vehicle.
The new Honda Legend Hybrid EX (Japan’s equivalent of the Acura RLX), which was launched in Japan earlier this year, is the first model from the brand to include the Honda Sensing Elite safety package, allowing hands-free driving under specific conditions such as moving through heavy highway traffic. At the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Germany, Honda gave us an insight into what this looks like.
At the event, Honda demonstrated four modified Legend sedans as part of a research project testing Level 3 and 4 autonomous technology. The research automobiles have already driven more than 25,900 kilometers (16,093 miles) on Germany’s roadways while evaluating Level 3 and 4 driverless capabilities in traffic jams and on highways.
Honda’s Level 4 autonomous driving technology can take complete control of the vehicle away from the driver in “Traffic Jam Chauffeur” and “Motorway Chauffeur” modes, according to Honda. If the condition of traffic on the highway is safe, Honda’s Level 4 automated driving technology can assume full command of the automobile from the driver. Cars running on Level 4 autonomous tech can handle unexpected situations like roadworks without requiring any driver intervention, compared to Level 3 systems.
Currently, there are no vehicles on the market with Level 3 autonomy in the United States, but Honda is one step closer to achieving Level 5 driverless technology. By 2050, Honda wants to eliminate fatalities in its automobiles and motorcycles completely – advanced autonomous technology previewed at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress will assist it in doing so.
“We view automated driving technology as a vital part of our advanced safety technologies,” said Dr. Robert Kastner, Large Project Leader of the L3Pilot Project at Honda R&D Europe. “Following on from our years of research in this field, we are delighted to be an active part of this EU innovation initiative, and to support advanced research activity for automated driving that is aiming to further increase safety and further reduce accidents on European roads.”