Cars that are self-driving: What are the different automation levels?

The dream of self-driving cars is increasingly getting closer, and accident experts around the world believe that it is likely that widespread use of fully autonomous self-driving cars will minimize the number of road accidents and deaths.

But what exactly are the various types of automation for vehicles?

Cars that are self-driving: What are the different automation levels?

Many vehicles that are already on the road are partly automated and networked, and the trend is to increase the amount of automation.

Walter Niewoehner of the German safety inspection agency Dekra states that this classification specifies which tasks the vehicle conducts with its assistance systems and which demands are made on the driver.

Level 0: This correlates to continuous driving without any research methods actively interfering. The driver has absolute directional control over the car.

Level 1: Here the driver is supported by active systems that take over either the longitudinal or lateral guidance of the vehicle. An example of this would be in a proximity cruise control system that governs the speed and distance to the vehicle in front, while the driver still has control of the steering function in normal traffic. However, in an emergency, the driver can override the automatic controls by carrying out emergency braking, for example.

Level 2: This means the car is partially automated. In certain cases, the driver leaves the longitudinal and lateral guidance completely to the car and its assistance systems. However, you still have overall responsibility for everything.

“That means you have to constantly monitor the overall system and intervene immediately if circumstances require it,” says Niewoehner.

Level 3: A highly automated system that permanently takes over longitudinal and lateral control and automatically recognises when the required environmental conditions or other prerequisites no longer apply.

It then prompts the driver to take over the driving. The driver no longer needs to constantly monitor such a system and can devote their attention to more demanding secondary activities.

“These require the system to alert the driver in enough time so they can safely take over,” says the Dekra expert.

Level 4: Here in any imaginable traffic scenario, the car practically drives itself entirely. The driver can also sleep while travelling, but when requested to do so they must be able to take over the car.

Level 5: The ultimate level of autonomous driving: in any case the car drives entirely independently of any human influence and can even be equipped without a steering wheel. DPA—dpa

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Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. I have written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. I have a clear and simple writing style and am skilled in using infographics and diagrams. I am a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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