Love it or hate it, but autonomous cars are around the corner to take over our driving tasks, and all the major car manufacturers are investing billions for the purpose. Until now these vehicles have been tagged with various vague jargons to describe autonomous, self-driving, semi-autonomous and self-piloting systems. To help understand, we break down the different levels of autonomous systems in vehicles to better understand them. Also Read - New Tesla Model S Plaid can play Cyberpunk 2077 as good as PS5, shows Elon Musk
Level 0 – You re all by yourselfAlso Read - Buy a Electric Tesla car using Bitcoin in the future: Elon Musk
This is the basic and conventional driving that we have been used to doing till now. Driver has the control of accelerating, gear shifting, braking and steering at all times. Also Read - Tim Cook "refused to take the meeting" to acquire Tesla: Elon Musk
Level 1 – Basic
This is the basic autonomous tech that has been loaded into vehicles for quite sometime now. It refers to the cruise control which can be found on cars that cost north of Rs 100,000 in India. Some of the cars like the Maruti Vitara Brezza and the Honda City come to mind. It can just maintain a constant speed on highways, but the driver needs to take care of steering and braking.
Level 2 – Keep an eye out
The Tesla Model S is the prime example of level 2 autonomous technology. Under this, the car can maintain its speed by itself, maintain distance and avoid other cars and stay in its lane. But this tech is not fool proof as the driver has to keep an eye out to see whether the system is following the inputs the way it is intended. Also if some problem arises, the driver must be ready to take over the reins.
Level 3 – Safety Critical
The upcoming Audi A8 features level 3 autonomy levels, where the driver can do other activities while in the car. This technology does not blindly follow the set norms, and can adapt according to situations. For example, if there is a slow moving vehicle on the road, it will scan through its sensors and drive around it instead of coming to a dead stop.
Level 4 – Almost perfect
These are the vehicles which can perform all driving measures competently, and can meet even switch to contingencies if the need arises. But the catch here is that, they are limited to their operational design domain (ODD) like it’s fed with all the information and scenarios related to a small area like a college campus or some small town.
Level 5 – Aspirations
This is the highest level of autonomy as it considers all the driving scenarios including dirt and snow laced roads. Just tell them the destination, and then you can go back to whatever it is you were doing. This is what Waymo is testing currently, and is aiming for in the future. ALSO READ: Self-driving cars may soon be able to make moral and ethical decisions: Study