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Honda plans to introduce Level 4 automated driving system for vehicles by 2025

Published 09 June 2017

Japanese automaker Honda is planning to introduce Level 4 automated driving capability into its vehicles by 2025.

The decision is line with the company’s plans to introduce automated freeway driving capability (SAE Level 3) into Honda and Acura vehicles by 2020. 

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have defined Level 3 as ‘conditional automation’ where an automated system will be able to drive the vehicle, but the human driver must be ready to take charge of the driving immediately when requested.

Level 4 is said to be highly automated, where the automated driving system can control the vehicle under certain given driving conditions, even when the human driver does not respond, or is not ready to take any action.

The announcement was made by Honda Motor president and CEO Takahiro Hachigo at a media conference held in Japan. The company demonstrated its automated vehicles to the media, which were put under several complex driving scenarios.

Honda’s demonstration included a freeway driving, which was conducted on a closed test course using vehicle equipped with an advanced suite of sensors including multiple cameras, five LiDAr and five radar sensors. This system is claimed to possess the capability of automated driving system using a multi-lane freeway in the presence of traffic.

A second driving demonstration included a simulation of common urban driving scenario. The vehicles were equipped with Honda artificial intelligence (AI) with deep learning capability.

Fitted only with camera sensors and no LiDAR or GPS, the vehicles with AI and deep learning could sense and response to complex driving environments and situations including roads without proper lane markings.

The system could also detect pedestrians, bicyclists at night with only partial visibility and the accumulation of experience and improve the system’s ability to predict an outcome, thanks to the deep learning model.

Hachigo said: "We will strive to achieve the technological establishment of Level 4 automated driving for personal car use by around 2025.

"We are striving to provide our customers with a sense of confidence and trust by offering automated driving that will keep vehicles away from any dangerous situation and that will not make people around the vehicle feel unsafe."

Image: Honda to bring SAE Level 4 self-driving vehicles by 2025. Photo: Courtesy of Honda North America.