Honda Legend EX Sensing Elite on sale tomorrow in Japan
Can drive eyes-off in high-traffic situations
Honda has just put a Level 3 automated car on sale in Japan, making it the first carmaker in the world to sell a vehicle equipped with that technology. It is going on sale in a special version of the Honda Legend Hybrid that will be offered for lease in very limited numbers starting tomorrow.
The Honda Legend Hybrid is the first model to be equipped with the new Honda Sensing Elite sensor suite that has earned government approval for Level 3 automated driving. That means that the car can drive itself with the driver being “eyes off” in limited situations. It’s the Traffic Jam Pilot function that allows for Level 3 autonomous driving, a new feature that uses 3D high-definition mapping as well as the global navigation satellite system to determine the exact location of the vehicle at all times. It has several external sensors that detect what is happening around the car, while a monitoring camera tracks the driver behind the wheel.
Using all of that date, the car can recognise driving conditions, anticipate future conditions, and “applies a high-level of control to acceleration, braking and steering inputs to assist the driver and achieve high-quality and smooth driving.” That limits the ability of the car to operate with the driver “eyes-off” in certain low-speed conditions. Essentially, it will drive itself in traffic jams and Honda says the river can then watch TV or use the navigation system, or engage in other tasks.
It also includes hands-off driving in certain highway driving conditions and can handle active lane changes, much like the General Motors Super Cruise feature, though this does not qualify as Level 3. If the driver doesn’t respond to prompts to take control, the system will change lanes to the outermost lane or shoulder and slow then stop the car.
Just 100 versions of the car will be offered initially, and they will only be available to lease. The leasing price wasn’t given, but the MSRP for the car is 11,000,000 yen (CAD 129,000) including sales taxes. A non-Elite version of the Legend starts from 7,465,520 yen, or around CAD 88,000.