Japan's Honda Motor Co has announced on Wednesday that it will be the world's first automaker which will mass produce sensor-packed level 3 autonomous cars and hence, it will allow drivers to let their vehicles easily navigate through congested expressway traffic.
"Honda is planning to launch sales of a Honda Legend (luxury sedan) equipped with the newly approved automated driving equipment" before the end of March 2021, Honda said in a press release.
Now, it needs to be mentioned here that the race to build self-driving cars is a key technology battleground for automakers, and a number of technology companies that include Google parent Alphabet Inc are also investing billions of dollars in a field expected to boost car sales.
Earlier in the day, Japan's government awarded a safety certification to Honda's autonomous "Traffic Jam Pilot" driving technology, that will legally allow drivers to take their eyes off the road.
"Self driving cars are expected to play a big role in helping reduce traffic accidents, provide transportation for the elderly and improve logistics," said Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
It should be mentioned here that there are six levels of vehicle autonomy, from 0 to 5, and these range from manual cars or those with simple functions such as cruise control to fully self-driving vehicles – that do not need steering wheels, or brake and acceleration pedals.
On the other hand, Level 2 cars, which are currently on public roads, can control their own speed and steering, but at the same time, they also need an alert driver which will be able to take control at all times.
In July, U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc had also said that it was "very close" to achieving level 5 autonomous driving.