Updated: Autonomous driving levels 0 to 5: Understanding the differences
Between Tesla's announcement that every car in production will now have the capability for full autonomy by 2018 and the Obama administration's plan to invest almost $4 billion in autonomous vehicle research over the next 10 years, the race to create the best driverless car has never been hotter.
The rise of driverless vehicles is going to have a major impact on businesses and professionals. Automated vehicles could replace corporate fleets for deliveries or transporting employees, for example. And workers could gain productive hours in the day by working instead of driving during daily commutes. Innovations in this field are also poised to completely change the car insurance industry by reducing accidents—a new report predicts that accidents will drop by 80% by 2040.
But, what does "autonomous driving" really mean? In 2013, the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defined five different levels of autonomous driving. In October 2016, the NHTSA updated their policy to reflect that they have officially adopted the levels of autonomy outlined in the SAE International's J3016 document (you can download the full, 30-page document for free here) .