Honda today (8 June) announced it is targeting 2025 for the introduction of vehicles with highly automated driving capability in most driving situations (SAE Level 4).
This new goal builds upon earlier announced plans for Honda and Acura vehicles to have highly automated freeway driving capability (SAE Level 3) by 2020.
These are critical steps in Honda's commitment to contribute to a collision-free society, the automaker said.
The announcement was made by the automaker's president & CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, at a media briefing held at Honda R&D in Japan.
"We will strive to achieve the technological establishment of Level 4 automated driving for personal car use by around 2025," said Hachigo. "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."
A freeway driving test drive demonstration was conducted on a closed test course using a vehicle equipped with an advanced suite of sensors, showing the capability for automated driving system utilisation on a multi lane freeway in the presence of traffic. The test vehicle utilises an advanced sensor package which includes multiple cameras, as well as five LiDAR and five radar sensors.
A second driving scenario, simulating a common urban driving experience, was conducted using the latest generation of artificial intelligence (AI) with deep learning capability. Equipped with camera sensors only and no LIDAR or GPS, AI with deep learning can sense and respond to complex driving environments and situations, such as roads without proper lane markings. The system also can detect pedestrians and bicyclists at night with only partial visibility, and through the accumulation of experience, using advanced AI, the system can improve its ability to predict an outcome and take appropriate action.
The SAE defines automated driving based on six levels of capability, from zero to five. SAE Level 4 or high automation means the vehicle can handle all driving tasks in most driving situations with possible exceptions, including inclement weather conditions or unusual driving environments, where the driver would be required to resume control.