Honda has announced a new version of its Legend model that comes equipped with certified level 3 automation technology. This means that the partially self-driving Honda Legend will be the the first level 3 autonomous car to be sold commercially, although only 100 units will be sold in Japan.
To get your hands on one of these, you need to be in Japan (obviously), with the 100 models to be available exclusively for lease sales. Pricing has been set at 11 million yen (~RM413k), with Honda explaining that lease agreements would allow for the new technology to be regularly maintained.
So, what can the Honda Legend actually do? Essentially, Honda’s Sensing Elite technologies include the ability for “conditional automated driving in limited area”, which basically means that the system can drive the car—but only in certain conditions. Examples here would include traffic jams on highways, and other set scenarios.
Level 3 autonomous vehicles basically can make decisions for themselves—but they still require some level of human override. This means that if the system is unable to complete a certain task, the driver has to be alert and ready to take over operations of the vehicle.
To control the vehicle, the system uses data from 3D maps and satellite systems, along with data from external sensors that detect the environment around the car. Even the driver is monitored here, with a camera within the vehicle used to anticipate “future conditions”, while applying assistance for acceleration, braking, and steering input for the driver.
In any case, the technology is supposed to be a big step towards the reduction/elimination of human error-induced accidents, according to Honda’s chief engineer. For example, in situations where the driver is unresponsive, the Honda system can automatically perform an emergency stop, while turning on the hazard lights and horn.
Here are a couple of key features of the Honda Sensing Elite system:
- Hands-off Functionality (Adaptive in Lane Driving, Active Lane Change Assist with Hands-off Function, Active Lane Change with Hands-off Function)
- Traffic Jam Pilot
- Human-Machine Interface (HMI)
So, what do you think? For now, it seems like self-driving cars are still years away from becoming more mainstream—especially in Malaysia. Regardless, the Honda Legend certainly shows a lot of promise for the future. Leasing for the Honda Legend Hybrid EX starts on the 5th of March 2021. You can find out more by clicking this link.