The 5 Autonomous Driving Levels Explained

Understand the different levels of driving automation to know where we stand with this rapidly advancing technology.

Autonomous driving is no longer a futuristic dream, it’s becoming a reality. Every week, companies are announcing their commitment to developing and launching autonomous vehicles, and many of these announcements note the “level” of autonomy being developed.

Autonomous driving can definitely be scary to some, but it’s hard to deny the benefits. We’d see decreased congestion, reduced emissions, more efficient parking, lower transportation costs for everyone as well as a reduction in the cost of new roads and infrastructure. It would also greatly improve the mobility of elderly and disabled people.

There are 5 different levels of driving automation that you need to know to understand where we currently stand with this rapidly advancing technology. Here is a simple explanation of each level of autonomy.

5️ Autonomous Driving Levels 🚗

0️⃣ Level Zero — No Automation

At Level 0 Autonomy, the driver performs all operating tasks like steering, braking, accelerating or slowing down, and so forth.

1️⃣ Level One — Driver Assistance

At this level, the vehicle can assist with some functions, but the driver still handles all accelerating, braking, and monitoring of the surrounding environment. Think of a car that brakes a little extra for you when you get too close to another car on the highway.

2️⃣ Level Two — Partial Automation

Most automakers are currently developing vehicles at this level, where the vehicle can assist with steering or acceleration functions and allow the driver to disengage from some of their tasks. The driver must always be ready to take control of the vehicle and it still responsible for most safety-critical functions and all monitoring of the environment.

3️⃣ Level Three — Conditional Automation

The biggest leap from Level 2 to Levels 3 and above is that starting at Level 3, the vehicle itself controls all monitoring of the environment (using sensors like on October 23, 2017.

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