Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent for 14 Years

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Levels of Driving Automation Are Defined in New SAE International Standard

autonomous driving

In today’s world, technology is more alive than ever before. It is becoming a more substantial part of daily life, and there are new inventions seemingly every week. With the push to make driving safer, automobile experts created automated driving.

With continued high levels of fatal crashes, automated driving is where society is seeking answers. SAE International’s standard J3016 sets out to provide a unified definition for autonomous driving.

Some of SAE International’s goals include:

  • Classify every level of automation from ‘no automation’ to ‘full automation’.
  • Use the technological differentiation to create definitions and levels
  • Remain consistent with industry practice.
  • Remove confusion and be effective across disciplines.
  • Educate our communities by clarifying what the driver will need to perform, at each level, while the automation system is active.

SAE International’s Levels of Driving Automation

The term”automated driving” may be vague to some. Cruise control has been in cars for a decade now, and that is technically automated driving. So, how do we use the same term to describe vehicles that fully function on their own? To avoid confusion, the SAE created these levels of automation.

The system contains six levels ranging from 0-5; each level describes a classification of how “automated” the system within the vehicle is.

“The levels are categorized by the extent to which a car takes over tasks and responsibilities from its driver, and how the car and driver interact.”

Key Terms according to the SAE International Standard J3016:

  • “Dynamic driving task includes the operational (steering, braking, accelerating, monitoring the vehicle and roadway) and tactical
    (responding to events, determining when to change lanes, turn, use signals, etc.) aspects of the driving task, but not the strategic
    (determining destinations and waypoints) aspect of the driving task.
  • Driving mode is a type of driving scenario with characteristic dynamic driving task requirements (e.g., expressway merging, high speed
    cruising, low speed traffic jam, closed-campus operations, etc.).
  • Request to intervene is notification by the automated driving system to a human driver that s/he should promptly begin or resume
    performance of the dynamic driving task.”