The Japanese automaker Honda launched Friday in Japan the marketing of the first car in the world with an approved level 3 advanced autonomous driving system, but in a very limited series of 100 units.
Honda had obtained the green light last November from the Japanese Ministry of Transport for its “Traffic Jam Pilot” system, allowing autonomous driving under certain conditions, for example when the vehicle is traveling in a traffic jam on a fast lane.
This was the world’s first homologation for a level 3 autonomous driving system.
An international reference grid designates levels from 0 to 5 in terms of autonomous driving. Level 3 corresponds to automation under pre-defined conditions.
The Traffic Jam Pilot is integrated into the new Honda Legend Hybrid EX sedan, among other lower tier self-contained features.
To develop these systems, the group has simulated “about 10 million models of possible situations in real life” and conducted tests on expressways over about 1.3 million kilometers, he said in a statement.
Honda favors caution by only planning to sell the Legend Hybrid EX to 100 units in Japan for the time being, and exclusively for long-term rental with option to buy (leasing), for a unit price including tax of 11 million euros. yen, or more than 85,200 euros, he said.
Perceived as the future of transport, research into autonomous vehicles is the subject of massive investment by many manufacturers around the world. Honda is also associated with the American General Motors in this area.
However, many regulatory and legal obstacles remain to be lifted before cars are routinely circulated without a driver, experts point out.
But road regulations are starting to change in some countries to allow level 3, such as in Japan or South Korea.
In the midst of accelerated demographic aging, Japan intends in particular to make autonomous vehicles play a major role in order to cope with the growing problem of road accidents caused by elderly drivers.