Automotive

Published on November 13th, 2020 | by Amirul Mukminin

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Honda’s Level 3 Autonomous Car is a Go

For many years now, automakers and tech companies have been racing to come up with their own autonomous vehicle but it seems that Honda will be the first to cross the finish line.

According to Honda, it has received approval from the Japanese government to sell Level 3 autonomous vehicles, which are capable of driving themselves in certain situations, such as a congested highway. It’s not fully autonomous (that will be Level 5) as drivers will still be required to take control of the car in the event of an emergency.

Customers won’t have to wait long to get their hands on the technology as the automaker has confirmed that it will launch the Honda Legend with Traffic Jam Pilot before March 31 next year. No details have been provided about the technology but our guess is that it will only be available in Japan for the time being. We will have to make do with the Honda Sensing, which is offered on the Accord, CR-V, Civic, City RS and the Odyssey.

Of course, the upcoming Legend is subject to certain requirements and safety standards, which include having a recording device on board as well as an “Automated Drive” sticker on the back. You can read more about it in the following press release.

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PRESS RELEASE

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has received the required type designation for Level 3 automated driving from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). This approval enables the automated driving system to drive the vehicle instead of the driver under certain conditions, such as when the vehicle is in congested traffic on expressway. Honda is planning to launch sales of a Honda Legend equipped with the newly approved automated driving equipment (“Traffic Jam Pilot”) before the end of the current fiscal year (Ending March 31, 2021).

To promote commercialization of Level 3 automated vehicles, the MLIT partially amended the Road Vehicle Act, and the revised act (Act No. 14 of 2019) took effect April 1, 2020. By this amendment, equipment for Level 3 automated driving was newly added to the list of motor vehicle equipment subject to the safety standards (defined in the Ministry of Transport Ordinance No.67, 1951).

Key safety standards for automated driving equipment

1.Performance:

  • The equipment must not cause any concern that compromises the safety of vehicle occupants or other road users under the operable driving environment conditions.
  • The equipment must not operate unless all required operable driving environment conditions are fulfilled.
  • Before any of operable driving environment conditions become unsatisfactory, the equipment must warn the driver of the transfer of control (handover) back to the driver and must continue safe driving until the handover is completed. When the handover cannot be made, the equipment must safely stop the vehicle.
  • The equipment must include a driver monitoring function to monitor the condition of the driver.
  • The equipment must adopt cyber security measures to prevent security threats such as unauthorized access.

2.Operating condition recording device:

The recording device must record data to confirm operating conditions of the automated driving equipment for a 6-month period (or 2,500 times) including the following:

  • Time when the automated driving equipment was turned on/off
  • Time when the equipment issued a handover warning
  • Time when the driver fell into a situation where a handover is not possible

3.External display:

  • A sticker indicating it is an automated vehicle should be affixed on the backside of the vehicle body. (A request to automakers.)

Honda will remain dedicated to the further development of safety technologies while striving to serve people worldwide with the joy and freedom of mobility, providing people with peace of mind and inspire their feeling of curiosity.

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