Honda announced that they will begin lease sales on March 5, 2021 in Japan of the Honda Legend that features self-driving technology. The Legend features Level 3 automated driving via Honda SENSING Elite.
The SAE defines Level 3 automation as:
“The system monitors the driving environment surrounding the vehicle and takes over driving operations under certain conditions. When any of operable driving environment conditions become unsatisfactory, the system will issue a warning, and the driver must take over the driving immediately.”
To put vehicle automation into greater context, the Tesla’s Autopilot technology is considered Level 2 which the NHTSA states, “…that the driver must remain engaged with the driving task and monitor the environment at all times.”
The NHTSA considers Level 3 Automation as, “(The) Driver is necessary, but is not required to monitor the environment.”
Honda’s SENSING Elite technology provides self-driving assistance under “Adaptive in Lane Driving”, which can provide hands-off operation under certain conditions. The system will keep the vehicle in the middle of the lane and give adequate distance to the vehicle in front of it. Under the same system the vehicle will make lane changes under hands-off driving after the driver puts on the turn signal.
If you’re operating the Honda Legend under “Adaptive in Lane Driving” mode and find yourself stuck in traffic you can avoid the tedium of stop & go and let the car do the hard work. “Traffic Jam Pilot” will control acceleration, braking and steering under certain conditions, and also keep proper distance to the other cars in traffic. The driver has the option of watching TV on the navigation screen while the Legend does the heavy lifting.
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The “Emergency Stop Assist” system will slow down the car and move to the outside lane if the driver is unresponsive to various alarms and warnings. If the driver continues to be unresponsive the vehicle will park on the shoulder and will alert other vehicles with the horn and hazard lights.
With the “Human-Machine Interface” the driver can be notified of vehicle operating status when the hands-off function is active. If the system is requesting handover, having the driver pilot the car, all hands-off system lights will flash and change colors to get the driver’s attention.
Honda is limiting production of the Legend with SENSING Elite to 100-cars. The Legend is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 i-VTEC engine paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission and features all-wheel drive.