What are the five levels of car autonomy?
Autonomous cars are one of the hottest topics in the automotive world and there is a great deal of speculation on the timeline around self-driving cars.
So, what are the levels of autonomy?
Level one is the ‘feet off’ level. This is an adaptive cruise control that will allow your vehicle to come to a complete stop behind another vehicle and is widely available on modern cars, employing the same hardware as autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
Level two is a ‘hands off’ vehicle that will steer, brake and accelerate by itself. Level two autonomous cars use technology such as lane assist, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.
Level three is where reduced supervision is required, and is explained as ‘eyes off’. Whilst level two requires the driver to periodically hold the wheel every 15-30 seconds, level three doesn’t require this level of participation. This is the level that manufacturers are currently working on and it would allow the driver to check their emails or stare out the window. The driver would only be required to take over if the car informs them that they can’t cope with a scenario – such as a drunk driver who has sideswiped you.
Level four is the ‘mind off’ level where you can essentially do whatever you want. Technology at this level could mean the driver could go to sleep, or be passed out drunk as long as the driver keeps in mind that the car remains ultimately subordinate to a human in a driver seat.
Level five is the final level, and the point where ‘no driver’ is required. A level five autonomous car could drive across Australia on its own.
Whilst the five levels of autonomy are more or less set in stone, the timeline around when they will be initiated isn’t as straight forward, with some manufacturers claiming the technology is very close while others think level five autonomy is decades away.
3 Jul 2019