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Could this be the future of driving? In a rare world first for Japan and its car industry, the country is setting the pace for self-driving technology.   © Illustration by Chuan Ming Ong
The Big Story

Back-seat driver: How Honda stole the lead in autonomous cars

A legal revolution paved the way for an AI breakthrough, but rules are still vague

ERI SUGIURA, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Do you hate driving in traffic jams? Ever longed to read a book, check email or watch a video instead of looking at the car ahead of you inching along into perpetuity, surrounded by honking, lane-grabbing aggression, wasting hours of your day that could be spent on something -- anything -- else?

If you live in Japan and have millions of yen to spend on a new car, you may be in luck. Honda Motor has developed the antidote to one of the least pleasurable aspects of the driving experience. Just flick on "Traffic Jam Pilot," sit back and let your car effortlessly steer while you take your mind off the road.

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