On Wednesday, Honda Motor Company said it would be the world’s first automaker to produce level 3 autonomous cars on a mass scale, as reported by Reuters. The Japan-based company also plans to release a car with the autonomous system by the end of March 2021, according to a press release.
The press release states, “Honda is planning to launch sales of a Honda Legend (luxury sedan) equipped with the newly approved automated driving equipment.”
Honda’s announcement came not long after the company won safety certification for level 3 autonomous driving from Japan’s government, legally allowing drivers to take their eyes off the road.
Honda gets approval for mass production of Level 3 autonomous cars; next-gen Honda Legend, due to launch next year, will be the first vehicle to deploy Level 3 automated driving capabilities for use on public highways https://t.co/ScVJhkMzSp pic.twitter.com/vpFzCjBvRK
— Autocar Professional (@autocarpro) November 13, 2020
While electric vehicle (EV) company Tesla claims it is nearly achieving level 5 autonomous driving, currently available vehicles with autonomy on the road are only up to level 2 autonomy.
Tesla’s current Full Self-Driving beta can be classified as level 3 ‘Conditional Automation’, where a driver is necessary to take control at any moment, but not required to monitor the environment. From recent FSD beta videos though, Tesla’s automation continues to impress.
The six levels of autonomy signify different functions of the car which are allowed to be autonomous – level 2 represents a car controlling its own speed and steering, though it still requires an alert driver behind the wheel.
On the safety of autonomous driving, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said, “Self driving cars are expected to play a big role in helping reduce traffic accidents, provide transportation for the elderly and improve logistics.”
The future of autonomous driving is coming up quickly. Whether Honda is the one to usher in the new era – or perhaps, more likely, Tesla with its already-released Full Self-Driving beta – or not, autonomous driving is something that any consumer can look forward to in the next decade.
Contributing Writer at TeslaNorth.com from California’s southeast Bay Area. Covers electric vehicles, space exploration, and all things tech. Loves a good cup of coffee, live music and puppies. Buying a Tesla? Click here to get 1,000 free Supercharging miles.