Self-Driving Car Levels 0 to 5 Explained

August 7th, 2019 by

There are no two automated-driving technologies that are specifically alike, SAE International’s standard J3016. It defines the six levels of automation for automakers, suppliers, and policymakers to use to classify a system’s sophistication. The pivotal change occurs between Levels 2 and 3 when responsibility for monitoring the driving environment shifts from the driver to the system.

Level 0: No Automation

System capability: It has none. • Driver involvement: The driver at the wheel has full control of the steers, brakes, accelerates and negotiates traffic. • Examples: A 1967 Porsche 911, a 2018 Kia Rio.

Level 1: Driver Assistance

System capability: Under unquestionable conditions, the car can either control the steering or the vehicle speed, but not both at the same time. Driver involvement: The driver will perform all other aspects of driving and has the full responsibility for monitoring the road, and it can take over if the assistance system fails to act appropriately. Example: Adaptive cruise control.

Level 2: Partial Automation

System capability: The car can accelerate, steer, and brake in indubitable situations. • Driver involvement: Tactical maneuvers such as changing lanes and responding to traffic signals mostly fall to the driver, as well as scanning for dangers. Drivers may need to keep a hand on the wheel. • Examples: Tesla Autopilot, Audi Traffic Jam Assist, Cadillac Super Cruise, Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance Systems, Volvo Pilot Assist.

Level 3: Conditional Automation

System capability: The car can manage most aspects of driving, including monitoring the environment, in the right conditions. The system reminds the driver to intervene when it encounters a scenario it ‘can’t steer. • Driver involvement: The driver has to be available to take over at any time while driving. • Example: Audi Traffic Jam Pilot.

Level 4: High Automation

System capability: The vehicle can operate without human input but only under select conditions defined by the factors such as geographic area and road type. • Driver involvement: In a shared car confined to a designated area, there may not be a lot. In a privately owned Level 4 car, the driver might be able to manage all of the driving duties on surface streets, according to reddit.com. • Example: ‘Google’s now-defunct Firefly pod-car prototype, which had neither pedals nor a steering wheel and was restricted to a speed of 25 mph.

Level 5: Full Automation

System capability: The driverless car operates on any road and in any conditions as any human driver could drive. • Driver involvement: Entering a landing place. • Example: None yet, but Waymo—formerly known as ‘Google’s driverless-car project, now uses a fleet of 600 Chrysler Pacifica hybrids to evolve its Level 5 tech for production.

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