Explainer: Honda unveils its new level 3 technology, but how does it work?

The Honda Motor Co. Ltd's all-new Legend sedan, equipped with level 3 autonomous driving technology, is displayed during an unveiling in Tokyo, Japan March 4, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd unveiled on Thursday a limited batch of its flagship Legend sedan this week, becoming the world's first carmaker to sell a vehicle equipped with certified level 3 self-driving technology.

Lease sales of the level 3 Legend would be limited to 100 cars at a retail price of 11 million yen ($102,000). But Japan's No.2 automaker is stepping up its game in self-driving technology as global competitors aim for fully autonomous vehicles.


There are different levels of automation, from levels 0 to 5, according to the Society of Automotive Engineers and most automakers. https://www.sae.org/news/2019/01/sae-updates-j3016-automated-driving-graphic

Level 3, also known as conditional driving automation, involves automated features which allow drivers to engage in activities behind the wheel, such as watching movies or using smartphones - but under limited conditions - while their car navigates expressway traffic.

Besides Honda, several automakers including Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz have said they are ready to deploy Level 3 systems for highway driving.


Levels 0 to 2 involve driver support features such as automated braking systems and lane departure warnings that need to be supervised by a driver. Liability for vehicle behaviour rests with the car owner rather than the manufacturer.

Most global automakers that develop autonomous driving technology such as General Motors Co , Volvo and Toyota Motor Corp, currently offer vehicles equipped with a level 2 automation system. This means vehicles can accelerate, brake and steer without driver input, but drivers are required to remain engaged at all times.

A level 5 vehicle, on the other hand, is fully autonomous and can navigate roads without any human attention in all conditions.


Honda's level 3 "Traffic Jam Pilot" system uses data from 3D high-definition maps and a global navigation satellite system for vehicle control, as well as a dozen of external sensors to detect the car's surroundings.

The system can alert the driver to respond when handing over the control, for example via vibration on the driver's seatbelt.

And if the driver is unresponsive, the system will assist with an emergency stop by decelerating and stopping the vehicle while alerting surrounding cars with hazard lights and the horn.

Honda simulated around 10 million patterns of possible real-world situations, and conducted a massive number of demonstration tests on highways to create safe-driving technology, said Hitoshi Aoki, the Legend's development manager.

($1 = 107.3300 yen)

(Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; editing by Emelia Sithole)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights


Next In Tech News

Taiwan central bank says it is working on digital currency, unclear on timetable
Sony launches PC gaming gear, expanding beyond PlayStation
Alibaba CEO extols positive role ecommerce giant’s technology can play in Chinese society in article for official magazine
China’s new antitrust rules could increase Big Tech scrutiny, adding hurdles to startup acquisitions
Tesla closes an office as layoff hits Autopilot jobs, including hourly ones
US ‘smart city’ tech highlights contrasts with China over privacy and control
Japan's Renesas, India's Tata Motors partner to develop chip solutions
China’s Baidu races Waymo, GM to develop self-driving cars
Tesla lays off about 200 Autopilot workers in latest cuts
Celebrity-endorsed crypto scams soaring in UK, Santander says

Others Also Read