The Honda Legend has become the world’s first level 3 certified autonomous car to be launched commercially
Honda received type designation approval for level 3 autonomous vehicles in Japan late last year. The approval allows the automaker to sell production vehicles with corresponding self-driving capabilities in Japan and it did not waste time.
The Honda Legend luxury sedan with level-3 autonomy has been launched in the country. This is a flagship sedan which is currently launched through a limited lease scheme in Japan. It is one of the first production vehicles in the world with level 3 autonomous capability.
As per the definition of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), in level 3 autonomy, the driver does not need to fully monitor the system under certain driving conditions but he or she should be available to take over instantly whenever prompted by the system.
Honda Sensing Elite
Dubbed Honda Sensing Elite, the comprehensive suite of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) gives the Honda Legend the ability to drive itself on highways and execute overtaking maneuvers automatically with driver’s permission. The party trick, however, is the Traffic Jam Pilot which employs a range of sensors to develop a highly accurate localization of the vehicle with respect to its surrounds.
It also makes use of a high definition 3D map to promote fully autonomous driving in bumper to bumper traffic. Honda days, the technology makes for a smooth and comfortable drive. Even though the system is engineered to handle several driving scenarios independently, driver supervision is still imperative and Honda has installed a camera in the cabin to monitor the status of the person behind the wheel.
If the system decides to hand over controls to the driver, lights on the steering wheel, navigation and glove box will flash in orange to gain attention. If the driver fails to respond, the Legend will automatically pull over to the roadside, using hazard lights and horns in the process if necessary.
The boffins at Honda has simulated around 10 million possible driving scenarios and tested the system for roughly 1.3 million km. Despite the extensive testing and validation campaign, the Honda Legend with Level 3 autonomous driving capability is available only in Japan, and that too on a limited lease sales of just 100 units. So, it is more of an extended beta testing experiment rather than a full blown commercial sales operation at the moment.
With laws and infrastructure related to autonomous driving still in nascent stages in most developed countries, it would take some time before level 3 systems are adopted in large scale. The Honda Legend is certainly a step in the right direction, and it will help not only Honda but all the stakeholders of autonomous mobility.