Honda autonomy

Honda launches level 3 autonomous technology in Japan

5 March 2021

Honda has launched a new package of semi-autonomous driver assistance functions, which it says is the first ‘level 3’ autonomous driving system to be given the legal go-ahead by Japanese authorities. 

Called Sensing Elite, the driver assistance technology takes a step beyond the level two systems widely on sale today by supporting hands-off autonomous driving under certain conditions, such as heavy traffic or when travelling on the motorway – other systems require hands on the steering wheel. 

As such, the brand has beaten Tesla to the punch by getting a government-sanctioned level 3 system on sale first.

Honda’s Sensing Elite system builds on the brand’s existing Sensing safety technology, but uses a more accurate global positioning system, more detailed three-dimensional maps and several sensors which give the ECU a 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings.

The cabin also gets specially configured 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a driver facing camera, which monitors whether the driver is still paying attention to the road. The steering wheel and dashboard also get new LED lights, which illuminate when the autonomous driving mode is activated.

The most impressive part of the new Sensing Elite system is the hand-off driving mode, which uses Honda’s existing adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems to assume total control over the car when driving on the motorway.

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