Honda beats Tesla to the punch in Level III autonomous driving
Back in November 2020, Honda announced that they were ready to roll out their Level III autonomous driving system. At the time, its legality was still under review as the idea of hands-free driving presented several legal challenges. But Honda has since overcome this hurdle to become the first automaker to offer Level III autonomous driving in the market.
The Japanese carmaker calls it Honda Sensing Elite and they fit it in the Legend flagship sedan. It has all the features you'd find in Honda Sensing, but it has a little something called Traffic Jam Pilot.
Other semi-autonomous systems have low-speed follow with their adaptive cruise control systems. Traffic Jam Pilot does the same thing but it can operate without inputs from the steering wheel. The driver doesn't even have to put their hands on the wheel. Honda Sensing Elite has the ability to control the acceleration, braking, and steering of the vehicle.
So, how does it do all of that? According to Honda, the system determines the position of the vehicle and road conditions using data from the 3-dimensional high-definition maps and the global navigation satellite system (GNSS*3) and detects the vehicle’s 360-degree surroundings using a number of external sensors.
At the same time, the system tracks the conditions of the driver using the monitoring camera mounted inside the vehicle. Based on such a wide range of information, the vehicle's ECU can recognize any changes in traffic behavior. That means it can predict and decide the movement of the vehicle as accurately as possible.
But enough of that, check it out in action.
Granted, the test was done in Honda's testing facility, but it shows how the car reacts to various driving conditions. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't take full control of the vehicle. You can still enjoy the car around winding roads if you're in the mood to steer it yourself. If anything, it takes some of the stress away from the daily drive.
The question now is this: will we see this in all future Honda models? Perhaps not in the near future. Different countries have different driving standards, so it will probably take decades before we see more cars fitted with Level III autonomy.