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Honda Finally Enters the Autonomous Segment With a Target Year of 2025

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【Summary】Honda may be late to the driverless party, but the Japanese automaker has entered the segment with the aim of releasing a Level 4 self-driving vehicle by 2025.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 17, 2017 8:00 AM PT
Honda Finally Enters the Autonomous Segment With a Target Year of 2025

When automakers and technology companies take the next step towards a fully autonomous future, they spread the word. It's a race, with everyone fighting to be first. Some automakers, like Mercedes-Benz and Audi believe they can get driverless cars on the road as soon as 2020, which is a bold claim. Others, like Ford and BMW are attempting to be get their self-driving cars out on the road closely after with an expected date of 2021. 

When it comes to driverless vehicles, Honda has kept its plans under wraps. The Japanese automaker has made some moves in the mobility segment by partnering with startup Tel Aviv earlier this year. And has even opened a new Innovation Lab Tokyo to develop items for the future, including mobility services and systems, robotics, batteries, and artificial intelligence.  

Apparently, Honda's interested in working with other companies when it comes to getting driverless cars on the road – like opening up a Silicon Valley lab and collaborating with IBM Watson – but hasn't announced any plans to work on autonomous cars on its own. That is, until now. 

Honda Enters The Driverless Car Scene

According to a report by The Verge, Honda shared its plans to have a Level 4 self-driving car on the road by 2025 at a media event last week. That's a long ways away, especially when one considers that other automakers are looking to get similarly capable autonomous cars on the road much earlier. The outlet, though, reports that Honda also intends to have Level 3 autonomous cars – where the driver still needs to be able to tack control of the vehicle at all times – on the road by 2020. 

Just as a recap, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) refers to Level 4 autonomous vehicles as being able to drive under their own power for the most part, while Level 5 vehicles can do it all without a human. 

"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," said Honda president and CEO Takahiro Hachigo. 

It's More Than Just Going Autonomous

Self-driving cars are only the tip of the iceberg for Honda, as the automaker also has large plans for the next 13 years. The Japanese automaker, as the report points out, is betting heavily on electric vehicles and believes that EVs will represent two-thirds of the brand's sales by 2030. As far as technology is concerned, after the launch of the new Honda N-Box, all of the automaker's car that are sold in Japan will be fitted with Honda Sensing driver-assist features as standard, reports The Verge

Honda, as the outlet claims, is well-behind the curve when it comes to autonomous technology. The Verge reports that the automaker ranks at number 15 on a list of 18 when it comes to overall advancement in the self-driving segment. But Honda's not concerned or worried about falling behind. 

"We are not trying to catch up with others but we are trying to achieve something unique to us," said Hachigo. Honda, then, is right on time. 

via: The Verge

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