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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

HONDA Sensing Elite Safety System, including LEVEL 3 automated drive

Honda has announced the launch and introduction of its new Honda SENSING Elite, which represents the next step forward in advanced safety technology for the company. Honda SENSING Elite builds on the functionality of Honda SENSING, fitted as standard throughout Honda's European automobile range.

Technologies featured include the "Traffic Jam Pilot" function, an advanced technology qualifying for Level 3 automated driving (conditional automated driving in a limited area), for which Honda has received type designation from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)*1. Traffic Jam Pilot technology enables the automated driving system to drive the vehicle under certain conditions, instead of the driver, such as when the car is in congested traffic on a highway or motorway.

For vehicle control, the system determines the vehicle and road conditions' position using data from the 3-dimensional high-definition maps and the global navigation satellite system (GNSS*3), detecting the vehicle's 360-degree surroundings using several external sensors. Simultaneously, the system tracks the conditions of the driver using the monitoring camera mounted inside the car. Based on such a wide range of information, the main ECU makes formal recognitions, predictions and decisions. It applies a high-level control to acceleration, braking and steering inputs to help the driver achieve high-quality and smooth driving.

During system development, a total of approximately 10 million pattens of possible real-world situations were simulated, alongside several demonstration tests were conducted while driving test vehicles on expressways for a total of roughly 1.3 million kilometres (800,000 miles). Moreover, the system incorporates a redundant system design to ensure safety and reliability in the event of a problem with any devices.

Exterior equipment designed exclusively for this all-new Legend model includes blue accessory lights and a dedicated aluminium wheel. Several sensors are embedded to make them less noticeable so that an appearance befitting a flagship sedan is further enhanced while discreetly calling out that it is a vehicle equipped with automated driving equipment.

Interior equipment exclusive to this model includes Honda SENSING Elite indicator lights which feature carefully selected respective positions, sizes, colours, brightness and other details, as well as the 12.3-inch full-LCD graphic meter. This equipment was adopted to ensure an intuitive understanding of operation status, current situation, and requests to transfer back control to the driver.

Key features of Honda SENSING Elite

'Hands-off' Functionality

While driving with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) activated, when certain conditions are satisfied on an expressway, the system will assist the driving operations even while the driver has their hands off the steering wheel.

Adaptive in Lane Driving:

The system assists the driving and in following a car in front within a lane. The system drives the vehicle along the middle of the lane while maintaining the pre-set vehicle speed. When there is a car in front, the system assists in following while maintaining a proper following distance.

Active Lane Change Assist with Hands-off Function

While driving using the Adaptive in Lane Driving, when the driver confirms safe surroundings and puts on the turn signal, the system assists acceleration/deceleration and steering for the lane change.

Active Lane Change with Hands-off Function

While driving using the Adaptive in Lane Driving, when the driver switches on the Active Lane Change with Hands-off Function, the system assesses the situation and assists the lane change and/or passing of the other vehicle under certain conditions. When the system detects a car in front being driven at low speed, the system notifies the driver and then assists the passing and returning to the original lane.

Traffic Jam Pilot

While driving using the Adaptive in Lane Driving, when the vehicle gets caught in traffic congestion under certain conditions, the system takes control of acceleration, braking and steering while monitoring the vehicle's surroundings on behalf of the driver. The system drives, stops, and resumes driving within the same lane while maintaining a proper following distance following the speed of the vehicle in front. While the car is under the control of the system, the driver can watch television/DVD on the navigation screen or operate the navigation system to search for a destination address, which helps mitigate driver fatigue and stress while driving in a traffic jam.

Emergency Stop Assist:

When the driver continues to be unresponsive to the system's requests for a handover, the system assists in deceleration and stopping of the vehicle by making lane change to the outermost lane or the shoulder of the road.

In case the driver does not respond to the system's handover requests, the Traffic Jam Pilot/Hands-off Function will be disengaged. The system further urges the driver to respond to the handover request using visual, auditory and tactile alerts such as escalated alarm sounds and vibration on the driver's seatbelt.

If the driver continues to be unresponsive, the system will help decelerate and stop the vehicle while alerting other vehicles around using hazard lights and the horn. When there is a road shoulder, the system assists deceleration and lane changes until the car reaches the shoulder of the road for a safe stop.

Human-Machine Interface (HMI)

The interface enables the driver to instantly recognise the system's operating status, the driving situation, and the handover requests issued by the system. Honda SENSING Elite indicator lights are positioned on the steering wheel, the top part of the navigation screen and glovebox. When Traffic Jam Pilot is activated, indicator lights come on with a blue light. When the system requests the handover, all indicator lights change their colour to orange and blink to send an easy-to-understand message to the driver. The large 12.3-inch, full-LCD meter, also displays the operating status of the system.

Limited sales in Japan will begin soon.

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