As we get closer and closer to the commercial launch of autonomous (self-driving) cars, one key factor has not been addressed enough: What is an autonomous car — because one type of car does not fit all? The answer is not simply “a car that takes over all/most driving functions for you.” The possible configurations of cars complicates things for both manufacturers and potential customers!
Here is a very good list of the types of autonomous driving experiences, from Lauren Flanigan (writing for The American Genius) that are ahead. Which type is best for YOU?
“From self-parking to collision avoidance, there are an array of different features that will be made available to consumers. But before you start saving for your next dream, take a look at which kind is best for you and your futuristic needs.”
Level 0 (zero automation) — “Your car is most likely a zero automation car. A human driver is required to operate and fully control the vehicle.”
Level 1 (driver assisted/function specific) — “These cars are for those who don’t trust automobiles with their lives. They still require a driver to operate the vehicle, but act as an aid to the driver, providing [specific] intelligent features.”
Level 2 (partial automation/combined autonomous functions) — “At this level, a self-driving automobile can perform two or more simultaneous tasks like steering, lane keeping, and speed maintenance while in cruise control mode.”
Level 3 (conditional automation/limited self-driving) — “The car assumes more than just partial control, and acts instead as a co-pilot. Although the driver can relinquish a lot of tasks to the car, the driver must to be ready at all times to resume control.”
Level 4 (high automation) — “These cars can perform all safety-critical driving functions while monitoring environments in defined-use cases without human intervention. Drivers enter the destination and navigation details and the car does the rest.”
Level 5 (fully autonomous) — “This car does not require any effort or driving on behalf of the human owner. There is no driving equipment in the car, which is designed to resemble comfortable environments like lounges and offices. The vehicle is in full control.”
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