9/10/2014

Honda Shows Off Self-Driving Test Car

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Honda Motor Co. is testing self-driving technologies in an Acura RLX sedan that can drive itself on an expressway, automatically adjusting to the local speed limit, changing lanes and merging from one highway to another.

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Honda Motor Co. is testing self-driving technologies in an Acura RLX sedan that can drive itself on an expressway, automatically adjusting to the local speed limit, changing lanes and merging from one highway to another.

The car uses GPS, multiple cameras and a roof-mounted rotating lidar (laser-based radar) unit to identify and monitor its surroundings.

Honda, which has been working on the test car for a year, publicly unveiled the vehicle earlier today at the Intelligent Transportation Society's World Congress in Detroit.

In a demonstration ride around a three-expressway loop in Detroit, the car smoothly merged onto the highway, checked surrounding traffic and changed lanes (after signaling). It maintained posted speed limits, kept a safe distance from surrounding cars and negotiated on and off ramps for two more expressways. The car signaled the driver to take over as it returned to city streets.

Honda emphasizes the technology it is testing is intended as a sophisticated driver aid and does not allow fully automatic operation under all conditions. The company says some of the technologies in the test car could go into production by about 2020 assuming component costs come down significantly.