Honda launches level three autonomous cars in Japan
Honda Motor Company has unveiled level-three autonomous driving features for its Honda Legend sedan, which enables the vehicle to navigate congested highways.
The new technology, called Honda SENSING Elite, has been subtly integrated into the body panels of the Legend, producing, as the company says, a “clean design while discreetly highlighting the vehicle’s automated driving capability.”
Honda SENSING Elite is the latest variation of Honda SENSING, a suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies currently available on Honda vehicles around the globe.
One particular feature of the Honda SENSING Elite is the ‘ Traffic Jam Pilot’ function, the first Level 3 automated technology to be approved by Japanese authorities.
Traffic Jam Pilot technology enables the automated driving system to control the vehicle, under certain conditions such as when the vehicle is in congested traffic on an expressway.
“While the vehicle is under the control of the system, the driver can watch television/DVD on the navigation screen or operate the navigation system to search for a destination address, which helps mitigate driver fatigue and stress while driving in a traffic jam,” the company writes.
The system can drive, stop and resume driving within the same lane while maintaining a proper distance and speed in accordance with that of the vehicle detected ahead.
The system will request the transfer of control back to the driver through visual, auditory, and tactile alerts including alarm sounds and vibration on the driver’s seatbelt.
“If the driver is unresponsive to multiple system requests for handover, the system assists deceleration and stopping of the vehicle by making lane change(s) to the outermost lane or the shoulder of the road.” Should this occur, the vehicle will alert surrounding vehicles by using hazard lights and sounding the horn.
Further to Traffic Jam Pilot, key features of Honda SENSING Elite include “hands-off” functionality, adaptive in lane driving, active lane change with hands-off function, and human-machine interface.
“The introduction of the Legend equipped with Honda SENSING Elite represents the next step forward in the area of advanced safety technology,” the company writes.
“Striving to realise a collision-free society based on its global safety slogan, “Safety for Everyone,” Honda has long been at the forefront of the research and development of safety technology.”
Using data from three-dimensional high-definition maps and the global navigation satellite system, as well as external sensors that provide 360-degree input, the system can determine the position of the vehicle and road conditions.
At the same time, the system tracks the condition of the driver using a monitoring camera mounted inside the vehicle.
Through the collective information gained, the main electronic control unit “recognises the current conditions, anticipates future conditions, and applies a high level of control to acceleration, braking and steering inputs to assist the driver and achieve high-quality and smooth driving.”
According to Honda, approximately ten million patterns of possible real-world simulations were undertaken during system development, and real-world demonstration tests were conducted on expressways for a total of 1.3 million kilometres.
The Honda Legend Hybrid EX is available for lease in Japan.
5 March 2021