Japan has started to bolster its pace in the automated driving sector with the likes of well-known brands, including Mazda, Toyota, and even Lexus implementing the technology into their vehicles.
Since September, as reported via Bloomberg, Japan has slowly begun integrating self-driving cars to suit rural areas and the elderly better. By 2022, several automobile manufacturers will seek to invite level 2-based self-driving mechanics to their vehicles to assist the country's overall endeavors.
There are a total of five main levels of automated driving technology for self-driving cars. At the fifth level, the automobile is fully automated and drives itself. At the second level, the vehicle still requires attention depending on the situation, specifically allowing for hands-free driving on highways.
For Toyota, the Crown model of cars will see an advanced upgrade in this form of self-driving technology in its 2023 rendition. After successful research and development with the tech installed, Toyota will move to further implement the self-driving mechanic across all major models in Japan. The company will also seek to explore options of installing the tech in more affordable models if parts are available.
Mazda likewise sees the impetus in the technology, aiming to bring either level 2 or even 3 to their vehicles starting no later than 2022. The automobile manufacturer will stick to implementing these self-driving features in its sport utility and medium-sized sedans.
Lexus already has the technology installed in the Mirai model and its high-end offerings. Subaru, on the other hand, intends to bring self-driving functionality to all of its cars worldwide for the purposes of hands-free highway excursions.
Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities are thus far prohibited for use in Japan, thus Levels 2 and 3 are the main target going into 2022. Yano Research Institute, a business and market research firm based in Tokyo, insists that 62% of self-driving vehicles in Japan will have level 2-based tech installed by 2030.
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Self-driving Cars In The United States
Meanwhile, the U.S. already boasts a record number of self-driving cars, including Elon Musk-led Tesla and its base level 2 self-driving tech in all models. Additionally, Alphabet's own self-driving vehicle, the Waymyo, implements level 4 into its features and plans to introduce level 5 after fully researching.
Driverless Car Debate
Not all people are fans of self-driving cars, as the innovation of transportation is not perfect. Self-driving cars' pros and cons include a number of varying factors. For Japan, the government wants to reinvigorate rural parts of the country and allow the elderly more feasible transportation methods. There are, however, myriad risks pertaining to the safety and potential for mechanical error.
With nearly 6 billion yen ($55 million) invested in the Road to the L4 project, Japan hopes to bring autonomous driving every day by 2025.