Levels of Automation

Fully automated, autonomous, or “self-driving” vehicles are defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode.” There have been multiple definitions for various levels of automation, for the sake of standardization, and to aid clarity and consistency, NHTSA has adopted the SAE International definitions for levels of automation. These definitions divide vehicles into levels based on “who does what, when.”

Level 0

The human driver does all the driving.

Level 1

An advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) on the vehicle can assist the human driver with either steering or braking/accelerating.

Level 2

An ADAS on the vehicle can control both steering and braking/accelerating under some circumstances. The human driver must continue to pay full attention (“monitor the driving environment”) at all times and perform the rest of the driving task.

Level 3

An automated driving system (ADS) on the vehicle can perform all aspects of the driving task under some circumstances. The human driver must be ready to take back control at any time the ADS requests the human driver to do so. In all other circumstances, the human driver performs the driving task.

Level 4

An ADS on the vehicle can itself perform all driving tasks and monitor the driving environment – essentially, do all the driving – in certain circumstances. The human need not pay attention in those circumstances.

Level 5

An ADS on the vehicle can do all the driving in all circumstances. The human occupants are just passengers and need never be involved in driving.

Connected Vehicles

Connected vehicles are vehicles that use any of a number of different communication technologies to communicate with the driver, other cars on the road (vehicle-to-vehicle [V2V]), roadside infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure [V2I]), and the “Cloud” [V2C]. This technology can be used to not only improve vehicle safety, but also to improve vehicle efficiency and commute times. Listed below are the types of communicaton, with links to more information, and some of the benefits of connected vehicles:

V2I – Vehicle to Infrastructure

V2V – Vehicle to Vehicle

V2C – Vehicle to Cloud

V2P – Vehicle toPedestrian

V2X – Vehicle toEverything