Honda gets green signal for mass production of Level 3 autonomous cars

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 13 Nov 2020

Honda has gained approval for a Level 3 automated driving system after receiving the required type designation from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

This permits Honda's ‘Traffic Jam Pilot’ automated driving system to be implemented in mass-production vehicles for use at speeds of up to 50kph on public highways in Japan. Level 3 automated driving systems take control of the car from the driver under certain conditions*

 The latest generation of the Honda Legend, due to launch next year, will be the first vehicle to deploy Level 3 automated driving capabilities for use on public highways.

 When activated by the driver, Honda’s 'Traffic Jam Pilot' technology monitors traffic conditions on the highway and takes control of the car from the driver if it determines that it is safe to do so. It enables the car to follow the vehicle in front and stay in its lane without any input from the driver. The system is required to monitor the highway conditions on a continuous basis and can only be active at speeds up to 50kph. When the system determines that it cannot continue to operate safely, a warning is issued, and the driver must take over control of the vehicle immediately. The technology is part of Honda’s suite of safety systems and takes a step further towards Honda’s ambition of a collision-free society by supporting the driver and reducing the number of accidents and collisions caused by human error.

Honda’s Level 3 automated driving technology complements the advanced Level 1 and Level 2 driver assist technology, including its industry-leading Honda SENSING suite of active and passive safety systems, already applied to the brand’s vehicles.

The Level 3 type designation in Japan follows recent recognition in Europe of Honda's dedication to providing class leading safety. The all-new Jazz e:HEV was awarded the maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP in the latest safety results announced on 12 November 2020. It was among the first mainstream cars to undergo the new test regime which introduced a range of stringent assessments. Jazz achieved the top rating thanks to Honda's advanced body structure (ACE), class-first front centre airbag, and a rear-seat i-side airbag system to protect occupants from impacts against the door and C-pillar.

These passive safety features are complemented by industry-leading Honda SENSING technology, which now comes as standard on all Honda models and has recently been upgraded with an improved wider-angle camera with higher definition. The comprehensive Honda SENSING suite includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System and Road Departure Mitigation system, among a host of other features.

The Level 3 type designation allows Honda to shift smoothly between manual and autonomous driving to create a comfortable and natural driving experience, while securing occupant safety.