More level 3 autonomous vehicle models will be hitting the streets in the coming months. Japanese automaker Honda is planning to release its Legend sedan in Japan as a level 3 autonomous vehicle by mid-2020.
Level 3 Autonomous Vehicles
The Honda Legend is the company’s first foray into the sector. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Honda has positioned the car as having partial self-driving capabilities that will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road. Presumably, the sedan will only allow for this level of autonomy during slow traffic on the expressway. Drivers will still be required to take control of the car during emergencies or if the vehicle does something wrong to help ensure pedestrian safety.
Audi AG is already in the Japan market with a level 3 vehicle. The Audi A8 is one of the first cars made with Level 3 autonomous technology. However, it has not been released in some areas of Japan due to legislation.
Autonomous Vehicles Coming to Seoul
Japan is not the only country looking to allow level 3 autonomous vehicles on the streets. Starting in July, South Korea will allow automakers to sell vehicles with basic Level 3 self-driving technology in the domestic market. By 2021, Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are all expected to have level 3 cars available for consumer purchase.
Levels of Autonomous Vehicles
Some companies are working to skip level 3 autonomous driving and go straight toward level 4. As opposed to level 3 where it can be difficult to discern at what point is the human user should be acting as a driver or rider, level 4 and 5 vehicles have very little, if any, human action needed.
Level 0 – Has no autonomous features. The driver is fully responsible for all operating tasks. The majority of the cars currently on the road are at this level.
Level 1 – This type of vehicle is able to do only one task autonomously, such as automatic braking, lane-keeping, or adaptive cruise control. Drivers are still expected to be fully alert behind the wheel.
Level 2 – Level 2 vehicles are capable of handling more than one task at a time, such as automatic lane-keeping and breaking or steering and acceleration. These vehicles are not considered to have true self-driving abilities and still need human intervention. Level 2 systems currently on the market include the Tesla Autopilot, Cadillac Super Cruise, Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot, and Volvo Pilot Assist.
Level 3 – These vehicles are able to drive from point a to point b if certain conditions are met. In the case of an emergency, drivers are expected to take control of the car. The only vehicle on the market with level 3 autonomous technology presently available to consumers is the Audi A8, although other automakers are working to develop this type of vehicle for release in 2020.
Level 4 – These vehicles are almost completely autonomous and do not require human interaction. They are constricted by location, cannot surpass certain speeds, and cannot drive in inclement weather. Therefore, a driver or remote operator is still required to be prepared to take the wheel. However, the vehicle is capable of completing a trip with little to no driver interaction making it ideal for fixed route vehicles such as corporate campus shuttles. No cars are currently on the market at this level for consumer purchase.
Level 5 – This is a fully self-driving car that can drive from point a to point b regardless of weather condition or speed. These vehicles do not need a driver, which allows passengers the freedom to focus on other activities such as reading or watching television. No vehicles of this level are currently available.
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