Honda's Highway Level 3 Autonomous Driving System Development

Automatic emergency stop is also available when the driver cannot respond to a request to intervene



Honda Legend equipped with Level 3 autonomous driving technology (Source: Honda)

  This report provides an overview of a presentation by Yoichi Sugimoto, Executive Chief Engineer at the Advanced Technology Research Institute of the Honda Research Institute, entitled "Automated Driving Technology Initiatives for Realizing a Zero Traffic Accident Society and Technological Challenges for Achieving Level 3 Autonomous Driving” that was presented at the 13th ReVision Auto&Mobility Webinar in October 2020.

  Honda will release a Level 3 autonomous vehicle (most likely the Honda Legend) by the end of 2020, which during highway driving features the following:

  • In-lane driving assistance (lane keeping in a relaxed, hands-off lane position)

  Furthermore, features that have yet to be implemented anywhere in the world include:

  • Advanced lane change assistance (hands-off lane changing)
  • Automated driving during traffic jams (Level 3 autonomous driving including eyes-off
    (where it is possible to do things such as TV viewing and smart phone operation) in addition to hands-off).

  The revised Road Transport Vehicle Act (RTVA) and Road Traffic Act (RTA) went into effect in April 2020, allowing Level 3 autonomous vehicles to drive on Japan's public roads. This is the first time in the world that Level 3 autonomous driving has been permitted by law.

  Automatic emergency stop (risk-minimizing control, or "minimal risk maneuver"(MRM)) when the system prompts the driver to take control of the vehicle but the driver fails to do so smoothly is not included in the SAE Level 3 definition, but the revised Japanese vehicle acts require it. Honda was planning to adopt MRM even before the Japanese regulations were decided.

  Mr. Sugimoto also outlined the system configuration of freeway-capable autonomous vehicle, and the safety verification of the vehicle based on a combination of various simulations and 1.3 million kilometers of actual driving.

Related news:
Honda receives type designation for level 3 automated driving in Japan (Nov 11, 2020)

Related reports:
2020 AV/ADAS Safety Standards & Regulations Roundup (May 2020)
Hitachi: Automatic generation of maps for autonomous driving from navigation system maps (Mar. 2020)
Nissan and Honda Autonomous Driving: Hands-Off from Highway to Downtown (Feb. 2020)