Honda is already testing Level 4 autonomous technology.
In the race to driverless technology, Honda is ahead of the game. Tesla's controversial Full Self-Driving Beta is limited to Level 2 autonomous technology, requiring the driver to keep their hands on the wheel at all times and stay alert. Meanwhile, Honda has already revealed the world's first Level 3 self-driving car.
Launched in Japan earlier this year, the new Honda Legend Hybrid EX (Japan's equivalent of the Acura RLX) is the brand's first model equipped with the Honda Sensing Elite safety suite, allowing for hands-free driving in certain scenarios such as navigating through heavy highway traffic. At the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Germany, Honda is previewing the future of its advanced driverless technology.
At the show, Honda presented four modified Legend sedans being used for a research program testing Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous technology. Impressively, the research cars have already racked up over 25,900 kilometers (16,093 miles) on German roads while testing Level 3 and Level 4 driverless functions on highways and in traffic jams.
Honda refers to these two research scenarios as "Traffic Jam Chauffeur" and "Motorway Chauffeur." By monitoring traffic conditions on the highway, Honda's Level 4 autonomous driving technology can take full control of the car away from the driver if the technology determines the driving conditions are safe. Compared to Level 3, cars running on Level 4 autonomous tech can handle unexpected scenarios like roadworks and don't require any driver intervention.
Currently, no car sold in the US offers Level 3 autonomy, but Honda is already one step closer to achieving Level 5 driverless technology. By 2050, Honda wants to reduce the number of deaths in its cars and bikes to zero - advanced autonomous technology previewed at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress will help Honda achieve this ambitious goal.
"We view automated driving technology as a vital part of our advanced safety technologies," said Dr. Robert Kastner, Large Project Leader of the L3Pilot Project at Honda R&D Europe. "Following on from our years of research in this field, we are delighted to be an active part of this EU innovation initiative, and to support advanced research activity for automated driving that is aiming to further increase safety and further reduce accidents on European roads."