Japanese automaker Honda confirmed advances in research on autopilot systems for vehicles. According to the Reuters news agency, it is poised to become the first mass-produced brand to produce a Level 3 autonomous steering system for its cars.
The system is called “Traffic Jam Pilot”, or “bottling pilot”, and is expected to debut in a Honda Legend family sedan in 2021. It is intended to be used especially in places of high congestion.
The manufacturer has already obtained permission from regulatory authorities to launch the platform in Japan and use it on public streets and roads. In the case of autopilot systems, permission is bureaucratic and involves country-specific laws, in addition to conducting a testing period.
What does that mean?
Level 3 of autonomy is an intermediary between complete manual control (Level 0) and complete and precise autonomy even in adverse conditions (Level 5). Called “Conditional Automation”, it involves vehicles that can move on their own and use sensors to adapt their driving. The human driver can even do another activity, but he must be careful to take the wheel if necessary. This scale is a standard adopted and accepted by the industry, created by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SEA).
Smaller companies, such as Tesla, are already at more advanced levels of autonomy in cars – but the sales reach does not come close to a traditional and more popular automaker.
Technology companies like Intel, Waymo, NVIDIA and Zoox are also competing in the industry in partnership with car manufacturers.