The Uprising of Self-driving Cars | Levels in Driving Automation

Self-driving vehicles are increasingly accentuated amongst automakers. Tesla has offered its Autopilot technology on its vehicles as a standard feature, with the option to upgrade to its full self-driving system. Several other makers are also getting into the game with notable examples being General Motor’s driver-assist Super Cruise system and the BMW’s Personal CoPilot.
Notably, it should be considered that while such systems might be able to take control of the vehicle they aren’t capable of fully autonomous driving yet, even after freeing drivers hands in certain circumstances.


The implementations of the technology include personal self-driving vehicles, shared Robotaxis, interlinked vehicle platoons, and long-distance trucking. Waymo became the first service provider to offer Robotaxis rides to the general public in Phoenix, Arizona in 2020, while Tesla has said it will offer subscriptions for full self-driving to private vehicle owners in 2021, and Nuro has been allowed to start autonomous commercial delivery operations in California in 2021.

How Self-Driving Car functions?

In early 2010s, many automakers and news outlets proclaimed that the world would witness cars where the customer would be permanent backseat driver. Its 2021 already and it seems that the prediction has went south. It becomes very essential to grasp how the self driving works in order to dig the concept. Self-driving vehicles rely on AIs which utilise a system of cameras and sensors to monitor road conditions and track objects around the vehicle. This information is used by the onboard AI to determine the ideal route, acceleration and steering.
The AIs must be taught the rules of the road and how to react in different scenarios, though they can make these decisions for themselves,  This requires acquiring an extremely large amount of training data which would be equivalent to billions of hours of driving footage.

Levels of Driving Automation

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, there are 6 levels of driving automation, ranging from level 0 which implies no driving automation up to utmost level 5 that implies full driving automation. Most of the technologies available today fall into first 3 levels league. Effectively, level 1 (driver assistance) technologies support the driver by adjusting factors like acceleration but do not take control of the car while Level 2 (partial driving automation) can take control of steering and acceleration but it takes the driver to remain attentive and responsible for vehicular operations.
The Resilient self-driving vehicle features continue to progress with the diffusion of innovative technology in engineering application. There is still a long road ahead in validating the safety of self-driving systems, but each step of progress brings the world closer to a driverless future.