There’s Levels to This

Autonomous driving has an idea that’s associated with it. If you’re in an autonomous vehicle/operating one you won’t need to drive. However, that isn’t necessarily true. There are levels of autonomous driving. Simply put, the higher the level the more it fits into a truly driverless mold. So, what are the levels? Do the levels start at a function like cruise-control that fulfills an action outside of the driver? Maybe it starts at the level of autonomy that Tesla vehicles display. TruckHub is going to take you through a light analysis of the five different levels of autonomous driving.

The First Three



The levels don’t formally begin at level one. In fact, they begin at level zero. Essentially, level 0 means that there is no autonomous functionality within the vehicle. Now, level one is where we can find functions such as the aforementioned cruise control. This level is where the driver still handles all acceleration, braking, and environmental awareness. Furthermore, cars that can brake lightly when you find yourself too close to another vehicle can be found in level one.

Next, level two vehicles are known to have “partial automation”. What does this mean? Level two is where you can find the original Tesla vehicles. These vehicles offer some steering and acceleration assistance. However, the driver needs to be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time. These vehicles do not help when it comes to safety. Level three vehicles have a spike in complexity. This spike comes in the form of environmental monitoring. Safety is no longer as much of a concern to drivers of these vehicles. But, with the preceding two levels. Even though safety isn’t as much of a concern drivers still need to be able to intervene in case of an emergency. As a side note, these vehicles can function safely at speeds under 37 mph.


“High Automation” and “Complete Automation” are the two highest levels of autonomy. However, there is one large difference between the two. That difference lies in the word “dynamic”. Level four, high automation, is not dynamic. Level five, complete automation, is dynamic. Now, what does dynamic mean?

The Final Two


It determines whether or not these vehicles can make decisions on the fly. At levels four and five, the autonomous vehicles are capable of steering, braking, accelerating, and monitoring the road. Simply put, they can drive by themselves. However, level four vehicles cannot determine what to do in traffic jam situations, when to merge onto the highway, and can only go into autonomy mode when it determines that it is in a safe environment. It’s close but it’s not quite there. Finally, we have level five vehicles. These vehicles are what most people think about when autonomous vehicles are brought up. Furthermore, level five vehicles don’t, or rather, shouldn’t require pedals or steering wheel. But these are still the ideal and, even though they are the end goal, they are not within sight just yet. (In terms of use by the general population.)


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