Germany's Continental AG supplies the Legend's four corner radar and one long-range radar as well as one of the electronic control unit that melds sensor data into an "environment map" of the car's surroundings. Continental delivers its highest-level automated driving technology to Honda partly because German brands don't offer Level 3 yet, Continental Japan CEO Bert Wolfram said.
Audi, for example, also has vehicles equipped for Level 3 Traffic Jam Pilot technology, but the German luxury brand still hasn't turned on that capability. And Honda hasn't deployed Level 3 in the U.S. market because it says the infrastructure there is incompatible with its system.
Stellantis said in December that it will roll out hands-free Level 3 automated driving technology within its cars starting in 2024. The technology to allow the driver to hand over control to the vehicle is being developed in partnership with BMW, the automaker said. BMW could debut Level 3 technology as early as this year in the next-generation 7 Series premium sedan.
Continental believes in the step-by-step march toward full autonomy, Wolfram said, and the company is happy to provide such systems to automakers, even for Level 3 systems.
Partnering with Honda on the world's first Level 3 system is a pride point, Wolfram said, noting that the environmental modeling required by Honda's system is "very complex."
Continental's collaboration with Honda is part of the supplier's move to provide "full stack" products that integrate hardware and software for plug-and-play procurement by manufacturers.
Naoto Okamura contributed to this report.