Levels of Autonomous Driving

From the Batmobile to KITT, cars that operate on their own have captured people’s imaginations. And while autonomous vehicles (AVs) may seem like a science fiction dream, they are closer to reality than ever before.


These AVs take over driving tasks, but still require a driver to be present to oversee technology in the event of an emergency or system failure. They also reduce the need for ride-sharing and delivery services.

Level 0

At this level, the driver is responsible for all driving tasks. While these cars can assist with steering or speed control, the driver must still monitor their surroundings and 방문운전연수 be ready to take over in any situation. Think of vehicles with features like adaptive cruise control or lane centering technology.

Most current vehicles on the road operate at this level. These vehicles have multiple automated systems and may ask the driver to intervene in certain situations, such as if the car enters a highway or leaves a city. They could even use a self-parking feature.

Many companies are currently developing vehicles at this level, including Tesla with its autopilot system. These vehicles can handle traffic and other conditions without a human driver, but the driver must be ready to intervene in case of an emergency or system failure. They will also be restricted to specific areas by geofencing.

Level 1

Level 1 vehicles use advanced driver assistance systems to support the drivers. These technologies may aid with braking, acceleration and steering, but the driver is required to remain fully attentive and involved.

These systems will often give the driver warnings about specific road conditions, such as lane departure and forward collision warnings. They allow the driver to temporarily take their hands off the wheel, but they must be ready to regain control at all times and will be alert to changing driving situations. Examples of ADAS in vehicles at this level include GM Super Cruise, Tesla Autopilot and Mercedes Drive Pilot. 방문운전연수

At this level, the car takes on both lateral and longitudinal control and will operate at all speeds within geofenced areas and under certain conditions. At this point, the driver can safely work, eat and even nap while the vehicle is on the move.

Level 2

The driver remains in control of the vehicle, but some of the dynamic driving tasks are automatically controlled by the system. Examples include adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection and emergency braking.

Level 3 is the first step to true autonomous driving, and it’s often referred to as ‘eyes-off’ autonomy. The driver can safely take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road, but they have to remain alert and ready to intervene when asked by the car. This means the driver can safely use their phone or watch a movie, but they should always be prepared to take over.

A few manufacturers are already offering vehicles with Level 3 autonomy, including Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot in the A8 and Alphabet’s Waymo. However, these systems are still confined to specific highways and operate in slow-moving traffic – making them a bit of a legal grey area.

Level 3

Level 3 is a step up from current systems like Tesla’s Autopilot and Ford’s Blue Cruise, which offer drivers more support in acceleration and braking. But even with these systems engaged, the driver must remain attentive and ready to take control.

The only vehicle currently offering a legally compliant Level 3 system in the US is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class with its Drive Pilot technology. But many experts say the system raises new questions about how safe cars with this level of autonomy really are.

Level 4 is fully autonomous driving, but it’s still only available in limited spatial areas or under certain circumstances. And yes, you can’t nap in a car with this level of automation. In fact, if you’re using the system to play video games or watch Netflix, you may want to reconsider your choice of ride altogether. As for the future, some companies are racing to get partially automated features in production.

Level 4

Level 2 automation is where most cars are at – systems take over steering, throttle and braking while you remain alert and in the driver’s seat. For example, GM’s Super Cruise and Mercedes-Benz’s semi-autonomous Drive Pilot use a combination of radar, cameras, lidar, and a host of other sensors to manage speed, lane changes, braking, turning and even traffic jams.

But we’re still a long way from full autonomy (Level 5) – the sci-fi vision that allows you to watch Netflix, catch up with friends or even nap without worrying about the vehicle. We need to solve all the safety puzzles, invest in geofencing infrastructure, create new legislation and more if we want to make autonomous vehicles a reality.

But don’t let the terminology confuse you – no matter what anyone tells you, there’s no such thing as a fully autonomous car. Until we achieve Level 5, we aren’t going to be taking our hands off the wheel for extended periods of time – at least not in the US.

Level 5

At this level, the driver can take their hands off the wheel and pedals while the vehicle is under control of its automated systems. This means that the system can independently control both acceleration and braking functions. However, the driver must still remain alert and engaged.

Vehicles at this level are able to drive anywhere and are not restricted by geofences or unique driving conditions. The system can even hand over control to the driver if they feel it’s safe to do so.

This is the fabled SAE Level 5 autonomy, and it’s where all car makers are currently focused – bankrolling collective billions in research and development to be the first to market with this top level of autonomous vehicle. However, Volvo believes it will be a few decades before we see vehicles at this level. They’ll be able to navigate severe weather and damaged roads, and will have the capability to transport passengers.