ADAS Advanced Driver Assistance System, to help the driver in the driving process. Safety features are designed to avoid collisions and accidents by offering the AI technology that alert the driver from potential problems and warn them to take measures before dangers happens.
There are six levels of autonomy in the SAE’s classification system, ranging from level 0 to level 5:
Level 0 vehicles are ones that are probably sitting on your driveway right now. They have no autonomous or self-driving controls at all, with all aspects of driving needing to be taken care of by the driver, including reacting to hazards.
Level 1 autonomy is the most common on roads. It refers to cars that have systems that allow the car and driver to share control of the vehicle. Adaptive cruise control, which controls speed and distance compared to the vehicle in front is a good example, as the driver still has to take care of steering.
A park assist feature is an example of level 1 too, as the driver has to control the speed of the vehicle while the car takes care of the steering. There are a range of safety features across most manufacturers which offer some level 1 autonomy.
Level 2 cars have internal systems that take care of all aspects of driving: steering, acceleration and braking. However, the driver must be able to intervene if any part of the system fails. Level 2 is also referred to as “hands-off”, however on the contrary, the driver is required to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.
Level 3 vehicles are ones that can be truly considered autonomous. Often referred to as “eyes-off” vehicles, those that fall into level 3 can allow the driver to sit back and relax as the car can take care of everything while driving along the road. Drivers are allowed to safely use their phone or watch movies, although they are still required to be on-hand to intervene if necessary, so falling asleep isn’t an option.
Level 4 cars are referred to as “mind-off”, because they’re so capable that the driver isn’t required to intervene at all, so you can go to sleep if you want. However, there are some restrictions, as the full self-driving mode can only be activated in certain, geofenced areas or in traffic jams. If the car isn’t in a specified area or in a traffic jam, then it must be able to get itself to safety if the driver isn’t able to take control in an emergency.
Level 5 cars are ones that require no human interaction whatsoever, they are fully autonomous vehicles. Vehicles will not have a steering wheel or other human-used vehicle controls. Driverless vehicles make the ride-share model much more cost-effective and compelling, as they eliminate the biggest cost of ride-share fleets: the driver. Initial deployment into the ride-share fleets brings two other significant benefits. The initial usage will include a trained operator in the driver seat, to enable consumers to gain experience with the technology with the assurance of a trained operator monitoring the situation, and the ability to generate real-world performance data in a safe way. Once enough data is generated, we would expect the regulatory framework to approve widespread usage.
Eventually, we will see auto companies scale-up from ride sharing to “shared ownership” where people and organizations share ownership of a car that can drive anywhere. This is even more transformative than ride sharing because it opens up completely new business models for transportation.