Honda this week unveiled its plans to introduce autonomous vehicles by 2025. The carmaker will launch a vehicle with Level 4 autonomous driving capability.
Honda previously said that it intends to launch vehicles with Level 3 automation by 2020. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Level 3 automation refers to highly automated driving, but the driver will still need to take control upon request. A vehicle with Level 4 automation can handle most driving situations without human intervention.
Level 5 is still theoretical at this point, but would be able to handle any condition.
Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo told reporters at a press event, “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.”
Hachigo also outlined the company’s vision for the next 13 years. By 2030, the company hopes to have electric vehicles account for two-thirds of its sales.
From fall 2017 onward, all Honda vehicles in Japan will come equipped with Honda Sensing driver-assist as a standard feature.
Honda is trailing behind other automakers in the development of autonomous vehicles, but Hachigo says innovation is the company’s goal.
“We are not trying to catch up with others, but we are trying to achieve something unique to us,” said Hachigo. “One approach is we are going to evolve our Honda Sensing technology to firmly establish automated driving. We are also discussing the possibility of joint R&D activities with Waymo, and that will be a separate technology from Honda Sensing. So in that regard, we have our strategy — we’re not just catching up, we are a leader.”
Honda’s partnership with Waymo, a self-driving car unit spun out of Google X, was announced in December 2016. Sparse details have been released about the partnership, and Honda has yet to reveal how its AI technology will co-mingle with Waymo’s technology