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What are the different levels of automation in automated vehicles?

As per NHTSA (2013) report,

0No Automation. The driver is in complete and sole control of the vehicle controls (brake, steering, throttle, and motive power) at all times.
1The autonomy of one or more primary control functions. E.g. the vehicle assists automatically with pre-charge braking to enable the driver to stop faster than possible by acting alone.
2The autonomy of at least two primary control functions designed to work in unison to relieve the driver of control of these functions. E.g. the combined function of active cruise control and lane centering.
3Limited Self- Driving Automation: Vehicles at this level of automation enable the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions and in those conditions to rely heavily on the vehicle to monitor for changes in those conditions requiring transition back to driver control. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control, but with sufficiently comfortable transition time.
4Full Self- Driving Automation: The vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. It is designed so that the driver will provide only destination or navigation input. The driver is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip. This includes both occupied and unoccupied vehicles.

In the below figure, the development expected for autonomous vehicle technologies and the autonomy level over time has been shown:-

image 41


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2013). U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Policy on Automated Vehicle Development. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from

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