Honda Motor Co. will become the world's first automaker to sell a vehicle with level 3 autonomous driving technology, meaning it can operate under various conditions including congested traffic, the company and the transport ministry said Wednesday.
Honda said it has obtained approval from the ministry and plans to launch its Legend sedan with the level 3 autonomous driving capability in Japan by March.
Level 3 autonomy allows a driver to engage in activities such as reading or watching TV under certain conditions like slow traffic on congested expressways. Still, the driver needs to be able to take full control of the vehicle in case of emergency.
In April, a revised traffic law took effect in Japan to allow level 3 autonomous vehicles to run on public roads as part of its efforts to promote development of self-driving cars.
At level 4 self-driving, a vehicle performs all driving tasks without human intervention within a limited area, even in emergencies. At level 5, vehicles do not require any human interaction.