The subject of “autonomous driving” is currently difficult to ignore. When it comes to private vehicles, Tesla is often mentioned with its “autopilot” – although, strictly speaking, this is not actually autonomous driving. According to the ÖAMTC, autonomous driving is divided into five levels: assisted, partially automated, highly automated, fully automated and autonomous. Tesla’s driver assistant falls into the second stage, as the driver has to control the vehicle at all times and keep an eye on the traffic.
One of the functions that has recently been intensively developed is the “hands-off” function, which should enable the driver to automate some driving commands, even if his hands are not on the steering wheel during execution. For example, the vehicle should be able to stay in lane or change lanes without the driver touching the wheel. With the help of the traffic jam pilot, the vehicle can also take control of acceleration, braking and steering and at the same time monitor the environment, as Honda reports.
The “Autobahn autopilot”, as the assistants examined in the research project are called, will be used in level four, for example, which enables the driver to completely relinquish the control of the vehicle and take on the role of a passenger. Operation on certain routes without passengers is also possible. Compared to Tesla’s autopilot, passengers are also not liable for traffic violations or damage. With this, Honda’s technology could, for example, recognize whether a construction site is starting on a section of the motorway and react accordingly without the driver having to intervene, as can be read on the website.
The technology is intended to support the Japanese company in increasing the safety of its fleet and eliminating human errors. By 2050, Honda aims to reduce the number of road deaths in the Group’s vehicles to zero. Time will tell whether the Japanese automaker will succeed in this and whether Tesla may also expand its driver assistants.