Honda Motor says plans to market partial self-driving car in 2020

A woman using her mobile phone walks past a logo of Honda Motor Co outside the company's dealership in Tokyo October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co said on Wednesday it aims to sell a car with automated highway driving functions around 2020, joining the race to market self-driving vehicles that pits traditional automakers against tech firms like Google.

Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co have also set 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics, as the target date to bring self-driving cars to market.

A spokesman for Japan’s No. 3 automaker declined to give details about the vehicle’s planned capabilities ahead of next week’s Tokyo Motor Show, where other Japanese automakers are expected to show “robot car” prototypes to the public.

As writing lines of code becomes as vital to car making as developing efficient motors, traditional automakers are worried they could be outflanked by Google, which is currently testing a prototype driverless car, or Apple, which is exploring building a car and is studying self-driving technology.

Reporting by Maki Shiraki and Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs