Honda launches world's first level 3 self-driving car

Honda launches world's first level 3 self-driving car

Pride in the Safety of the New Legend

The launch of the Legend with the level-3 functions for control of acceleration, braking, and steering is a major achievement of these organizational reforms.

When it comes to a comparison of Honda with rival firms, Yoichi Sugimoto, executive chief engineer of Honda’s R&D Company, likens Honda to the tortoise in Aesop’s Fables, and competing companies to the hare. 

The luxury Honda Legend.
The luxury Honda Legend.

“Honda has a corporate culture focused on safety with sincere and straightforward honesty. As a consequence, we have been able to overtake the hare,” he notes with confidence. 

Kimiyoshi Teratani, an executive officer of Honda, echoes that pride, saying, “It is of great significance for us to be able to demonstrate the superior level of our technologies, which elevate the value of our brand.”

Be that as it may, Honda cannot be complacent. Mercedes-Benz of Germany is scheduled to release level-3 capable vehicles later in 2021. Moreover, Ford Motor Co. of the United States plans to bring its level-4 autonomous driving technology vehicles — capable of all driving tasks without human intervention within a limited area — onto the market by the end of 2021. China is also keen to put its autonomous driving technology to practical use by 2025. 

Honda’s major challenges under Mibe’s presidency will be vehicle electrification, along with autonomous driving technology. Honda has set the goal of making electric cars account for two thirds of its four-wheeled vehicle sales by 2030, but envisions that most of the vehicles would be hybrid (HV) gas-and-electric-powered cars. However, the shift to EVs by China, the U.S., and European carmakers puts Honda at risk of being left behind by the global competition.

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(Read the Sankei Shimbun report in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Takafumi Uno

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It can alert the driver to respond when handing over the control, such as vibration on the driver’s seatbelt, the carmaker said. And if the driver continues to be unresponsive, the system will assist with an emergency stop by decelerating and stopping the vehicle while alerting surrounding cars with hazard lights and the horn, it added.

The announcement comes after the Japanese government awarded a safety certification to Honda’s “Traffic Jam Pilot” in November.

Global automakers and tech companies, including Google parent Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Tesla, have been investing heavily in autonomous driving.

Yet even as the technology advances, regulations on autonomous driving differ from country to country. Audi unveiled an A8 sedan with Level 3 technology in 2017, but regulatory hurdles have prevented it from being widely introduced.

Honda has no plans to increase production or sales of a Level 3-equipped Legend for now, its operating officer said on Thursday.

LISTEN: We kick off Season 4 with at look at new EVs available in Canada.

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