Earlier this March 2021, automotive giant Honda Motor launched its latest car, featuring the world’s first certified level 3 autonomous driving technology.
Legend, a luxury sedan operating without a driver under certain conditions, has a Traffic Jam Pilot system approved by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism last November 2020.
This system can help drivers avoid driving in congested traffic on an expressway when traveling slower than 50 kph. Through data from high-definition mapping and external sensors, it also automatically speeds up, slows down, and steers while monitoring Legend’s surroundings.
Apart from the Traffic Jam Pilot system, the vehicle has an infotainment feature that uses the navigating screen. However, the driver must respond using the system’s request for a handover when the car speeds up.
Legend also offers various level 2 features, including hands-off driving. It also has an emergency stop system, which decelerates and stops the car when the driver becomes unresponsive.
Priced at $102,000, Honda is releasing only 100 units with level 3 autonomous driving technology for lease sales. The company decided to release such a limited run to “explain (the) new technology clearly”, according to Kimiyoshi Teratani, Honda’s Chief Officer for Regional Operations in Japan.
Teratani added that leasing would also allow regular and thorough vehicle maintenance.
During Legend’s development, Honda simulated an estimated 10 million possible situations and conducted test drives on highways. The speed limit was also set lower than 60 kph allowed by regulations.
The future of driverless vehicles
Mercedes-Benz is posed to unveil its own model with level 3 autonomy sometime this year, heating up the self-driving vehicle market. Moreover, vehicles with level 4 autonomy are also well on their way.
In February, Germany’s federal minister Andreas Scheuer announced that new laws would make Germany the first country to regulate level 4 autonomous driving. Level 4 autonomy features the ability to navigate, steer, accelerate and break without a driver. Such mobility services are already provided and tested by Waymo, and Baidu.
Tesla has also been working to implement full self-driving (FSD) vehicles. The company released its FSD beta software to around a thousand drivers in San Francisco, and has been implementing improvements over the last couple of months.
Level 4 gives the vehicle better autonomy, but a driver must still be present and ready to take over if and when the software makes a mistake.
The autonomous car market is predicted to grow 18% by 2026, according to Mordor Intelligence. By 2030, is also expected that demand for level 2 and 3 driverless vehicles will rapidly grow. However, level 4 and 5 autonomous cars may not have the same consumer. Demand. unless “they are secure from cyberattacks”.
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Author: Ericka Pingol