Electric Vehicle Autopilot: The Six Levels of Automation

SAE driving automation levels

 

What is electric vehicle autopilot is a question many people have. When I first heard of autopilot in electric cars, I pictured a vehicle driving itself. I thought of  Knight Rider. However, I quickly learned that the fully autonomous vehicle is a long way out. Nevertheless, the society of automotive engineers has defined five levels of vehicle automation.

 

Driving Automation Levels Explained

  • Level 0 represents a vehicle where the driver manages all aspects of driving. The driver may have some features such as emergency braking, blind-spot warning, or lane departure warning, but the driver is making all the decisions.
  • Level 1 represents a vehicle where the driver is in control but may have a limited driver assistance feature. For example, the vehicle may have either lane-centering or adaptive cruise control.
  • Level 2 represents a vehicle with partial driving automation. For example, cars with lane centering and adaptive cruise control capabilities help drive vehicles in certain situations. However, he still needs to be supervising the car at all times.
  • Level 3 is a vehicle that has partial automation. The car would be able to drive by itself in limited circumstances but still needs human supervision.
  • Level 4 vehicles have a high level of driving automation. As a result, the car should be able to handle most driving situations, but there would be instances the vehicle would need human intervention.
  • Level 5 vehicles are fully autonomous and can drive themselves in all situations.

Driving Automation Today

Most vehicles today that offer autopilot are level 2 in the level of driving automation. Today, drivers who use autopilot need to be constantly alert and ready to take over as driving automation is limited. From my experience using Tesla’s autopilot features, the vehicle has integrated aspects of adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and navigation features. However, when using the feature, you must be ready to take over at a moment’s notice as the vehicle does not know how to handle all the scenarios a driver may face.

If you want to learn more about what kind of autopilot features, head over to Electric Driver to learn more about autopilot for electric vehicles. Also, find out how Electric Drive can help you find the right electric vehicle based on your lifestyle needs.

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