As you may have heard, technology for self-driving autonomous vehicles has been under aggressive development for a number of years. But just how close is this technology to mainstream adoption? While the answer to this question has yet to be determined for certain, it seems that increasingly sophisticated levels of automation will work their way into commercially available vehicles. Completely driverless cars appear to be further down the road.
Types of Car Automation
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has defined five levels of vehicle automation (level 0 through level 4). Currently available automation features do not exceed level two, a more limited level of automation. Level two vehicles may include features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning systems, adaptive headlights, braking assist, parking assist and collision warning systems.
Taking things a step further, numerous automakers and tech companies have been test-piloting technologies for cars that can drive themselves with little input from the user. A level three vehicle has the capability to operate autonomously with no help from the driver, but a human driver must be available to resume manual control if needed. Automation technology in cars and trucks is not expected to advance beyond level three for some time. Recently, the ride-sharing company Uber began piloting level three vehicles in Arizona.
A level four vehicle is one that can operate without a driver present. Such a vehicle might be designed without a cabin—for instance, a delivery truck that carries cargo and no human passengers. Due to the need for extensive testing, development and safety considerations, it is not likely that we will see level four cars on the road very soon.
We look forward to servicing driverless cars when this technology enters the mainstream! Meanwhile, coming back to present-day reality—be sure to bring your vehicle to one of our convenient Triangle locations the next time you need service!