Honda launched, this Friday in Japan, the marketing of the first car in the world equipped with an approved level 3 advanced autonomous driving system.
K 2000 fans can rejoice: their dream of one day seeing KITT come to life is one step closer to reality thanks to Honda’s advances. But it will be necessary to play elbows (and take the plane): the Legend Hybrid EX is only marketed in the land of the rising sun, in a very limited series of 100 units.
The Japanese manufacturer obtained, last November, the green light from the Japanese Ministry of Transport for its “Traffic Jam Pilot” system, allowing a autonomous driving under certain conditions, for example when the vehicle is moving in a traffic jam on a fast track.
Autonomous driving level 3
It was about the first homologation in the world for a level 3 autonomous driving system. On the international reference grid designating autonomous driving levels from 0 to 5, level 3 corresponds to automation under predefined conditions.
Other lower tier self-contained features are built into the new sedan. To develop these systems, the group has simulated “about 10 million models of possible situations in real life” and carried out tests on expressways on approximately 1.3 million kilometers, he specifies.
Japan is counting on autonomous vehicles in particular to reduce the growing number of road accidents caused by elderly drivers.
If Honda chooses to sell the Legend Hybrid EX to only 100 copies in Japan at first, it is because the manufacturer prefers err on the side of caution. The world may not be fully ready for the car of the future. Its Legend Hybrid EX is also only available for long-term rental with an option to buy (leasing), all for a unit price including tax of 11 million yen, i.e. more than 85,200 euros.
Still many obstacles
Research in autonomous vehicles, perceived as the future of transport, is the subject ofmassive investments from many manufacturers around the world. Honda is also associated with the American General Motors in this domain.
Of numerous regulatory and legal obstacles However, it remains to be seen before seeing cars circulating without a driver, underline experts in the sector. But the road regulations begin to to evolve in some countries to allow level 3, such as Japan or South Korea.
Faced with an acceleration in the aging of its population, Japan is counting in particular on autonomous vehicles for decrease the increasing number of road accidents caused by elderly drivers.