Hands-free highway driving Honda Sensing 360+ to be introduced globally, starting 2024 in China
Hans · Nov 20, 2023 03:58 PM
Honda has announced its fourth and latest variation of its Sensing suite of advanced driving aids (ADAS). The new Honda Sensing 360+ sits between the flagship Sensing Elite and Sensing 360. The latter is a step up from the regular Sensing suite offered by Honda Malaysia.
The ‘+’ in Sensing 360+ refers to the incorporation high-definition maps and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) to improve hands-free driving, even when on a curve. With map data, the vehicle is now capable of anticipating an upcoming curve and adjusting its pre-set adaptive cruise control speed.
With 5 units of millimeter-wave radar in front and at each corner of the vehicle, it can detect not just other vehicles but also pedestrians. A driver monitoring camera inside the vehicle also assesses the driver’s alertness.
The Advanced In Lane Driving with Hands-off Capability feature builds on the regular Sensing’s Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, and Road Departure Mitigation System.
When conditions for safe hands-free driving are met, the vehicle’s steering wheel will flash two blue strips of light, allowing the driver to decide between manual driving or handing over the steering control to the computer.
When driving in hands-free mode, the vehicle is capable of anticipating curves ahead and apply appropriate braking before turning into a curve. However, on sharper curves, driver intervention is still necessary. In such cases, the driver will be prompted with visual and audible warnings for “Caution curve ahead”, including alerts in the Head-Up Display, to take over the wheel and the braking.
If the vehicle continues to approach the curve at a speed that is too fast, stronger warnings and braking will be done to reduce the possibility of road departure at the curve, which is Honda’s nicer way of saying crashing off the road. This feature is referred to as Predictive Curve Departure Warning.
Although Sensing 360+ is capable of hands-free driving, Honda emphasized that this is still a fatigue-reducing, assistance-only feature, and the driver must always be responsible for the vehicle’s operation.
“Honda Sensing 360+ offers driver-assistive functions, and there is a limit to the capabilities (e.g. recognition capability and control capability) of individual functions. Please do not overestimate the capabilities of each function and drive safely while maintaining a good driving posture, paying constant attention to your surroundings and being ready to take control of steering and braking operations at any time,” reminded the company.
Active Lane Change Recommendation is another additional feature for Sensing 360+. With high-definition map data and GNSS to pinpoint exactly which lane is the vehicle in, the vehicle can recommend lane changes to enter or exit a lane on a junction or highway.
When approaching a slower vehicle in hands-free driving mode, and if conditions for safe lane change are met, the system will recommend an overtaking maneuver. If the driver presses a button on the steering wheel to accept the suggestion, the vehicle will automatically indicate, accelerate, return to its original lane and decelerate.
Exit Warning avoids potential collisions with bikers / cyclists when opening the car’s door. When the system detects the risk of a collision between the vehicle door the occupant is about to open/opened and other vehicles passing by, the indicator on the front pillar or side mirror lights up, with audible warnings.
Driver Emergency Support System will safely stop the car if the driver is, for whatever reason, has fallen unconscious behind the wheel. If the driver fails to respond to the increasingly loud alarms, Sensing 360+ will blow the horn, activate hazard lights, and gradually slow the car to a complete stop.
In markets where Honda’s emergency call centre HelpNet service is available, an operator will call the vehicle to assess the situation.
Honda Sensing 360+ will be introduced in 2024, starting with the Chinese market Honda Accord. The system will be rolled globally in stages.
The Honda Sensing hierarchy can now be summarized as below:
Honda Sensing 360
Honda Sensing 360+
Honda Sensing Elite
Honda Sensing is the entry point for the Sensing safety technology suite. It is primarily a frontal and rear collision avoidance and forward driving assistance suite.
Honda Sensing is available as standard on all recent Honda models sold in Malaysia except the City Hatchback (only available for V and RS variants), but this is expected to change when a model update arrives in 2024.
The video below is an example of its long list of features. Note that the demonstration uses a motorcycle. Honda Sensing is one of the few ADAS that is developed to detect pedestrians and motorcycles, even in its most basic Sensing-only form fitted in the humble Honda City.
Honda Sensing 360 adds additional hardware that allows it to detect potential dangers along the sides of the vehicle, thus allowing features like Active Lane Change Assist, Lane Change Collision Mitigation, expanded view CMBS that can detect pedestrians in junctions, and Front Cross Traffic Assist.
Honda Sensing 360+, as mentioned above, adds hands-free driving and driver monitoring.
The flagship Honda Sensing Elite adds long range radars and LiDARs, it is the world's first legally recognized Level 3 semi-autonomous hands- and leg-free driving car in the world, fitted on the Honda Legend, but since the Legend has since been discontinued, and was previously only available in Japan, Sensing Elite has not been trialed elsewhere.
If you wondering about Tesla's Auto Pilot, Enhanced Auto Pilot and FSD, all three are still a Level 2 system, despite the marketing claims, as none of these systems have satisfied SAE's safety requirements to be recognized as a Level 3 system.
Nearly 90 percent of Honda cars sold worldwide are now equipped with Sensing. Honda's goal is to have a 100 percent fitment rate globally by 2030. This is the reason why the new Honda City now comes with Sensing as standard.
By the way, Honda Malaysia is now offering an additional RM 1,800 discount to government servants buying the Honda City, raising the total value of its year-end promotion to RM 8,000.