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Autonomous Vehicles

Modified 2018-06-22 by Andrea Censi

Maintainer: Andrea Censi

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Autonomous Vehicles in the News

Modified 2018-06-22 by Andrea Censi

These days it is hard to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to autonomous vehicles, particularly self-driving cars. Virtually every major car manufacturer has pledged to deploy some form of self-driving technology in the next five years. In addition, there are many startups and software companies which are also known to be developing self-driving car technology.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of companies that are actively developing autonomous cars:

Levels of Autonomy

Modified 2018-06-22 by Andrea Censi

Before even discussing any detailed notion of autonomy, we have to specify exactly what we are talking about. In the United States, the governing body is the NHTSA, and they have recently (Oct 2016) redefined the so-called “levels of autonomy” for self-driving vehicles.

In broad terms, they are as follows

  • Level 0: the human driver does everything;
  • Level 1: an automated system on the vehicle can sometimes assist the human driver conduct some parts of the driving task;
  • Level 2: an automated system on the vehicle can actually conduct some parts of the driving task, while the human continues to monitor the driving environment and performs the rest of the driving task;
  • Level 3: an automated system can both actually conduct some parts of the driving task and monitor the driving environment in some instances, but the human driver must be ready to take back control when the automated system requests;
  • Level 4: an automated system can conduct the driving task and monitor the driving environment, and the human need not take back control, but the automated system can operate only in certain environments and under certain conditions; and
  • Level 5: the automated system can perform all driving tasks, under all conditions that a human driver could perform them.

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