Honda sells limited batch of level 3 self-driving cars

TOKYO – Honda has announced that it will sell a limited batch of its flagship Legend sedan equipped with its Sensing Elite Level 3 autonomous driving technology that allows vehicles to navigate congested highways.

When the Level 3 traffic jam driver is enabled in the system, a driver can watch movies or use on-screen navigation, which helps alleviate fatigue and stress when driving in a traffic jam, said Honda in A declaration.

The automaker’s plan to sell 100 of the vehicles with advanced technology would be a significant step towards its goal of being the first company to mass-produce a car with Level 3 technology.

The Traffic Jam Pilot option can control acceleration, braking and steering under certain conditions.

It can also alert the driver to react when handing over commands, such as vibrations on the driver’s seat belt, Honda said. And if the driver continues to not respond, the system will assist with an emergency stop by decelerating and stopping the vehicle while alerting surrounding cars with hazard lights and a horn, Honda said.

The announcement comes after the Japanese government gave Traffic Jam Pilot safety certification in November.

Global automakers and tech companies, including Waymo and Tesla, Google’s parent company Alphabet, have invested heavily in autonomous driving.

Yet even as technology advances, autonomous driving regulations differ from country to country. Audi unveiled an A8 sedan with Tier 3 technology in 2017, but regulatory hurdles kept it from being widely introduced.

The limited-edition legend will begin rental sales in Japan at a retail price of 11 million yen ($ 103,000) on Friday, Honda said.

The automaker has no plans to increase production or sales of a Level 3-equipped Legend at this time, the company told reporters on Thursday.

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