LEVELS of AUTONOMY
The Society of Automotive Engineers has defined a six-level autonomy scale: Level 0 means no automation. Level 1 and Level 2 have advanced driver-assistance systems, such as Automatic Emergency Braking or Lane Keeping Assist. Only one automated system operates at a time in Level 1 cars, while in Level 2 multiple automated functionalities work in tandem. Level 3 has what most people would call “self-driving.” The vehicle can take over all of the driving functions under certain circumstances. The driver can fully disengage until the vehicle requires intervention.
Level 4 and Level 5 are considered fully autonomous—in all situations and driving environments—the human has moved from being the driver to just a passenger. Level 4 cars still have controls, while Level 5 vehicles have no human-operated vehicle controls. Both can provide independent mobility to those with physical disabilities.