The idea of self-driving cars isn’t recent. Some of the first concepts for self-driving cars date back to the 1920s. However, it wasn’t until recently that the idea of consumer self-driving cars began to near reality. As the technology for self-driving cars has become more feasible at scale, the need for regulation has grown along with it .
With all of the buzz around autonomous or self-driving vehicles in the news, you may be wondering, “What are the autonomous driving levels”?
Back in 2013, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) came up with a set of five levels (well, six including level 0) to characterize the classes of self-driving cars and their capabilities. So let’s jump right in and talk about each one. Level 0
This is where most cars stand right now. The driver of the car is responsible for all driving tasks, including accelerating, braking, steering, etc . Level 1
Also referred to as “hands-on” self-driving capabilities, level 1 includes cars capable of adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance and parking assistance. The driver is still responsible for most operations of the vehicle, but some tasks are delegated to onboard and/or IoT-enabled technology. Level 2
Here is where the real fun begins. At level 2 we enter the “hands-off” level of self-driving. Here drivers must remain in the vehicle and alert at the wheel, but they are no longer in control of most operations of the vehicle. Contrary to the name, it’s in fact required at this level that the driver’s hands remain in contact with the wheel. Tesla’s Autopilot bills itself as a level 2 technology. Level 3
This is the real hands-off level of self-driving capabilities. Here, the driver is allowed to remove not just their hands […]