Honda launches driverless car technology in Japan
Honda has launched pioneering Level 3 autonomous driving aids on the flagship Honda Legend in Japan that allow the car to take over full driving duties in geofenced locations, reports Motoring.com.au.
The new driver assist technology, called Sensing Elite, allows the Legend to take over in heavy traffic or on the highway.
To enable the Honda Legend to drive itself requires extra hardware and high-definition mapping of the roads it operates on, plus extra sensors that provide the ECU a 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings.
Inside, there’s an updated 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a driver-facing camera to ensure the driver is still monitoring the road. A steering wheel with LED lights has also been introduced to easily indicate when the car is in driverless mode.
The Honda system can still keep inside and change lanes without any driver intervention, automatically overtaking slow-moving traffic – but only after asking the driver for permission first.
It’s only in slow-moving, congested traffic that the Honda finally allows a driver to do other things and watch the TV in the car’s infotainment system to help reduce fatigue.
However, if the system thinks the driver is sleeping or unresponsive, or unable to regain control, the vehicle will automatically move to the emergency lane and bring the car safely to a halt with its hazard lights on, sounding its horn to other users.
As part of developing Sensing Elite, Honda simulated 10 million real-world scenarios and covered more the 130,000km in test mules to iron out any bugs in the system.
There’s no word yet on when Honda plans to roll out its Sensing Elite driver aids to other markets, with no indication which other models will receive its advanced driverless tech.