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Autonomous Vehicles

The Road To Full Automation

Fully autonomous cars and trucks that drive us instead of us driving them will become a reality. These self-driving vehicles ultimately will integrate onto U.S. roadways by progressing through six levels of driver assistance technology advancements in the coming years. This includes everything from no automation (where a fully engaged driver is required at all times), to full autonomy (where an automated vehicle operates independently, without a human driver).

Levels of Automation

Level 0

  • The human driver does all the driving.

Level 1

  • An advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) on the vehicle can sometimes assist the human driver with either steering or braking/accelerating, but not both simultaneously.

Level 2

  • An advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) on the vehicle can itself actually control both steering and braking/accelerating simultaneously under some circumstances.  The human driver must continue to pay full attention (“monitor the driving environment”) at all times and perform the rest of the driving task.

Level 3

  • An Automated Driving System (ADS) on the vehicle can itself perform all aspects of the driving task under some circumstances.  In those circumstances, the human driver must be ready to take back control at any time when the ADS requests the human driver to do so.  In all other circumstances, the human driver performs the driving task.

Level 4

  • An Automated Driving System (ADS) on the vehicle can itself perform all driving tasks and monitor the driving environment – essentially, do all the driving – in certain circumstances.  The human need not pay attention in those circumstances.

Level 5

  • An Automated Driving System (ADS) on the vehicle can do all the driving in all circumstances.  The human occupants are just passengers and need never be involved in driving.

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