Business / Corporate

Honda to release Japan's first domestic 'level three' autonomous car

JIJI

Honda Motor Co. will be the first automaker in Japan to release a domestically produced car with “level three” autonomy, according to sources.

Level three autonomous driving technology will be mounted on a new Legend luxury sedan scheduled to be launched as early as next summer, the sources said.

With level three technology, drivers will be able to leave operation of the car to the vehicle itself during traffic congestion on expressways.

Next spring, the government will enforce a revised road traffic law to permit the operation of level three autonomous vehicles on public roads.

With the technology that Honda will mount on the Legend, drivers won’t have to operate the accelerator or the wheel during congestion on expressways.

Drivers will be able to watch television or use their smartphone during that time, and are expected to feel less fatigue from driving.

Motorists will also be warned before the car returns to manual driving as soon as the congestion ends or if an emergency occurs.

The new Legend is expected to be priced at around ¥10 million.

BMW AG and Nissan Motor Co. have already released vehicles in Japan that feature level two autonomy. That technology allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel on expressways but are still required to keep their eyes on the road.

Toyota Motor Co. plans to supply its e-Palette vehicle, which features level four autonomy for use in the Olympic Village when Tokyo hosts the Summer Games next year.

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