Honda, an automobile manufacturer, announced that it will sell a passenger car with an advanced automatic driving function called "Level 3" from the 5th.

Under certain conditions, such as on a congested highway, a car that can leave all driving operations to the system will be the first in the world to drive on the road.

The passenger car "Legend" is equipped with the level 3 automatic driving function, and all driving operations such as steering wheel and brakes are performed when the highway is congested or near congestion and the speed is 50 km or less. The system will do this automatically.

Level 1 and level 2 functions support the driver's driving like automatic braking, but at level 3, all operations are entrusted to the system under certain conditions, so it becomes full-scale automatic driving. I will.

In Japan, the law has already been amended assuming that Level 3 cars will run.

This is the first time in the world that a commercial vehicle will run.

The selling price is 11 million yen including tax, and it means that it will start selling for leasing only 100 units from the 5th.

Not only automobile manufacturers but also IT companies have entered the field of autonomous driving, and development competition is intensifying worldwide.

Yoichi Sugimoto, Executive Chief Engineer (Development)

"Automated driving may eliminate human error and greatly reduce accidents during traffic jams. We would like to consider future developments while carefully assessing how they will be accepted."

What is the level of autonomous driving?

Autonomous driving is divided into 5 stages from level 1 to level 5.

▽ Level 1 is a function that runs so as not to go out of the lane or automatic braking.

Of these, the function that detects the presence of cars and pedestrians in the vicinity and automatically stops has been installed since around 2010.

In addition to

the Level 1 function, ▽ Level 2 is a function that automatically overtakes slow vehicles ahead on the highway, and has been on the market since the mid-2010s.

▽ At level 3, under certain conditions, the system automatically performs all operations such as steering wheel operation, acceleration, and deceleration on behalf of the driver.

It is assumed that you are driving at a slow speed during a traffic jam on a highway.

However, the driver must be prepared to return to driving immediately after getting out of the traffic jam or in the event of an unforeseen situation.

On the other hand, at level 4 and level 5, the system always does all the operations.

▽ Level 4

limits the location, etc. ▽ Level 5 limits the location, etc.

The government aims to practical application of level 4 on the highway to the prospect of 2025.

Although Toyota and Nissan have not set a specific time for commercialization, automobile manufacturers are developing technologies that are even more advanced than the current level 2.

Global development competition intensifies

Overseas car makers have also announced plans for Audi in Germany to develop cars with Level 3 features, and for BMW and Geely in China to start mass production of Level 3 cars.

Furthermore, IT companies that have strengths in AI = artificial intelligence and huge data processing technology are aiming to achieve Level 4 and Level 5.

Google's group company "Waymo" is providing a service for dispatching self-driving cars in Arizona after limiting the area, and "Apple" is also developing technology.

Chinese IT company "Baidu" is also conducting a test run aiming for level 4 or higher.

While development competition is fierce worldwide, three years ago in the United States, an accident occurred in which a "Uber" car hit a pedestrian and died during a test run of autonomous driving, establishing safety technology. Is an issue.