Have you ever wondered about a future where fully autonomous cars dominate the roads, and how this will impact your life? How will the way we live, work, interact socially, and care for the needy, disabled and elderly change when we expect vehicles to be able to drive themselves safely from point to point and be beckoned at any time? Machines performing intelligent actions without human supervision is one of the long-time dreams for AI and is rapidly becoming closer to reality.
Understanding the levels of vehicle autonomy
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classify six levels of capability for autonomous cars, starting from completely human operated vehicles at Level 0 to fully autonomous vehicles at Level 5. Companies such as Tesla, Ford, Toyota, Uber, Volvo, and others have been working very heavily to reach the ultimate goal of Level 5 autonomous vehicle operation. Self-driving cars are becoming closer and closer to becoming a reality.
But, how do we judge the quality and the real autonomous nature of a car? The six levels of vehicle autonomy help determine autonomous vehicle capabilities. At the lowest levels of the spectrum, Level 0 cars have no autonomous features. This means that the driver must be fully in control of the vehicle while driving and the driver is fully piloting without any autonomous machine features. More than 80% of the vehicles on the road today are still at level 0 autonomy.