Honda has been hard at work at improving its autonomous driving technology. The Japanese automaker seeks to be a global leader in self-driving vehicles, and its latest efforts could put it ahead of many of its competitors.
Back in April 2021, Honda unveiled a new Honda Legend sedan with level 3 autonomous driving capabilities. It was the first car in the world equipped with such technology.
There are six automation levels in total, with 0 meaning no driving automation and 6 indicating full self-driving abilities. Level 3 indicates a vehicle having a method of detecting the environment and performing most driving tasks with a human override.
Now, Honda is preparing to test its self-driving vehicle program this September. The company is partnering with other firms, including Cruise and General Motors, to bring an autonomous vehicle mobility service to Japan.
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) technology will allow users to book rides with self-driving cars. Think of it as Uber or GrabCar, only there's no one behind the wheel, and the vehicle is driving itself. While the idea may sound unnerving, it should be noted that the best minds in the world are working on this technology.
The goal is eventually for autonomous systems to be better than human drivers in every possible way. Extensive testing will be crucial to achieving this goal, this is why Honda will be conducting heavy trials in Utsunomiya City and Haga Town in Tochigi Prefecture.
Honda plans to use the Cruise Origin, a vehicle it developed jointly with Cruise and GM. Honda and Cruise will handle testing at a new operations test site in Tochigi Prefecture.
The Big H has also formed the Honda Mobility Solutions Company to formalize its MaaS business plans. With this latest development, it appears Honda is ready to widen the gap between it and other companies pursuing self-driving technology. On that note, it will be exciting to witness the future of driverless cars.