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Forget Tesla! Honda Will Be the First to Produce Level 3 Autonomous Cars

If you have been following along in the race to manufacture a fully self-driving car, you’ll know that Tesla has been testing out its “full self-driving” feature on its cars lately. And while those updated features are impressive, they still need some work as they are still in the beta testing phase and have yielded less-than-stellar results. Honda, on the other hand, just recently announced its plans to produce Level 3 autonomous cars by the end of the first quarter in 2021. Take that, Tesla.

The world’s first mass-produced level 3 autonomous cars

If Honda can succeed in producing level 3 autonomous cars then it will be the world’s first automaker to do so. However, the brand isn’t going to be rolling out some new driver-assist features in the next Civic or Accord. In fact, it’s going to launch a new Honda Legend to showcase the new self-driving abilities.

What’s a Honda Legend? No, it’s not the Legend of yesteryear that we all loved and adored. Instead, the latest Legend will be close in size and mechanically similar to the latest Acura RLX full-size sedan. That means that the car will be produced solely for the Japanese market until further notice.

2020 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

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When will the autonomous car race be over?

At this point, automakers like Honda and Tesla are really only getting started on their race to fully autonomous vehicles while other companies, like Cruise and Google, have been doing their best to test fully autonomous vehicles on the streets for the past few years. There could still be a long way to go for any of the current brands to reach level 5 autonomy, but if and when Honda succeeds in producing the mostly autonomous Honda Legend, there will likely be more motivation across the board.

What is level 3 autonomous driving?

In case you’re unfamiliar with the different levels of autonomous driving, just note that there are six SAE-designated levels that range from 0 to 5. On the lower end of the scale are fully manual cars with minimal driver-assist features while the highest level (5) is when the car has no steering wheel or pedals, completely removing the need for a driver. Level 3 cars can drive themselves under certain conditions, but the driver needs to take control of the car at any given time.

A passenger in a self-driving car.
Self-driving car | Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

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Will the Honda Legend come to the U.S.?

While we only have information regarding the Honda Legend autonomous car being released in Japan by the end of March 2021, we can at least keep our fingers crossed that Honda will bring something similar stateside if all goes well.

And while the thought of being able to commute without having to pay attention sounds great, we all need to keep in mind that the real benefit of having a full or semi-autonomous car is to further aid in traffic safety as the technology could possibly reduce the number of accidents and provide safe transport for the elderly.