Japanese multinational conglomerate Honda Motor unveiled a partially self-driving sedan ‘Legend’, becoming the world’s first carmaker to sell a vehicle equipped with new, certified level 3 automation technology.
Even though the launch places the Japanese automaker as the market first, the lease sales of the level 3 flagship Legend would be limited to only a batch of 100 in Japan which would be sold at a retail price of $102,000.
Speaking about the new launch, the senior chief engineer of Honda, Yoichi Sugimot states that the new automation technology is a big step towards eliminating human error-induced accidents.
The ‘Traffic Jam Pilot’ system of Legend can control acceleration, braking and steering under certain conditions. Once the system is activated, a driver can also watch movies or use the navigation on the screen, helping to reduce fatigue and stress when driving in a traffic jam, Honda said in a statement.
The system can further alert the driver to respond when handing over the control, like vibration on the driver’s seatbelt. And if the driver continues to be 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.
The current launch comes after the Japanese government awarded a safety certification to Honda’s “Traffic Jam Pilot” in November. But the company said that it has no plans to increase production or sales of a level 3-equipped Legend for now.
Global automakers and tech companies, including Google’s parent Alphabet’s Waymo and Tesla, have been investing heavily in autonomous driving. Yet even as technology advances, regulations on autonomous driving differ from country to country.
Audi unveiled an A8 sedan with level 3 technology in 2017 but regulatory obstacles have prevented it from being widely introduced into the market.