Not all self-driving cars are created equal. We have yet to have a fully capable self-driving car. However, there are several models out there that allow some autonomous features. Below we list the different levels and what is included in each level, that way if you are ever on a lot and see ‘Level 2 Autonomous’ on a car you will know what that means.
SAE International Levels of Automation
Level 0: Might have a proximity sensor in it to notify drivers of potential run ins but does not have any ability to stop the vehicle. Cars at level 0 cannot drive themselves at all (except for cruise control).
Level 1: If your car can control itself in any degree with the information around it. Features like lane assist, which will auto steer if you begin to drift. Or your car has radar control that will adjust the speed based on what is in front of you.
Level 2: Cars that can handle steering and acceleration control together. Your car can also parallel park by itself. The driver must always be attentive.
Level 3: These cars can drive down a normal road or specific path based on the destination inputted from the driver. These cars do not have fail safes and requires a human to take control immediately in the event of dangers.
Level 4: Human driver as a failsafe but is smart enough to handle difficult situations. If the car experiences something that it is not equip for it must abort the drive and will park itself until a human can intervene. Waymo has level 4 vehicles out on the road without humans, but they are geofenced to certain areas for testing. Ford wants to be able to put out a level 4 vehicle by 2021.
Level 5: A car that is completely self-driving. It requires no input from a driver and in some instances does not have the capacity for human input. Many level 5 concept cars do not have steering wheels. Level 5 cars don’t have any planned release time yet but several big car companies are developing these types of vehicles.
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