Researchers predict that by 2025, we will see about 8 million autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles on the road. Before entering the roads, self-driving cars will have to go through 6 levels of advancement in driver assistance technology.
What exactly are these levels? And now where the world electric car in general? Accompanying that is a small question: Vinfast VF e34 electric car that is creating a “hit” in the Vietnamese auto market in recent days is a self-driving car of what level? …
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines 6 levels of driving automation, from 0 (fully manual) to 5 (fully automatic). These levels have been approved by the US Department of Transportation.
Level 0 (No Driving Automation)
Most vehicles on the road today are Level 0: manual. Humans provide “dynamic driving duties” although there may be systems in the vehicle to assist the driver. An example is the emergency brake system. Technically, this system does not “drive” the car, so it does not qualify as automation.
Level 1 (Driver Assistance)
This is the lowest level of automation. The vehicle has a unique autonomous system to assist the driver, such as steering navigation or acceleration (cruise control).
Adaptive cruise control assists the vehicle in keeping a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. It qualifies as Level 1 as the driver oversees other aspects of driving such as steering navigation and braking.
Cruise control mode. (Photo: Vinfast)
Level 2 (Partially automated driving)
Vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems or ADAS. Self-car can control both steering and acceleration / deceleration. Here, automation is not self-driving because people are in the driver’s seat and can control the car at any time. The Tesla autopilot system and Cadillac’s Super Cruise system (General Motors) are both Class 2 standard.
With the newly launched VF e34 electric vehicle, Vinfast announced smart features including Lane Control Assist, Collision Warning, Parking Assist, Adaptive Auto Headlight. Thus, Vinfast VFe34 can be classified into Level 2 when there are features of ADAS group.
Level 3 (Automated conditional driving)
The jump from Level 2 to Level 3 is substantial from a tech perspective. But from a human perspective it is limited and if not insignificant.
Level 3 vehicles are capable of “detecting the environment” and can make decisions for themselves, such as speeding past slow-moving vehicles. But the car still requires human control. The driver must always be alert and ready to intervene if the system is unable to perform the task.
Nearly two years ago, Audi (Volkswagen) announced that the next generation of A8, their flagship sedan, would be the world’s first produced Tier 3 car.
And Audi has done it successfully. The 2019 Audi A8L is available from commercial dealers. It features Traffic Jam Pilot, which combines a Lidar scanner with advanced sensor coordination and processing power (plus built-in redundancy if a component fails).
Interior Audi A8L (Image: Audi)
However, while Audi is developing its excellent engineering, the regulatory process in the United States has shifted from federal guidelines to state-by-state regulations for autonomous vehicles. Therefore, for now, the A8L is still classified as a Tier 2 vehicle in the United States. It ships without the key hardware and software components to achieve Level 3 functionality. However, in Europe, Audi launches the full Level 3 A8L with Traffic Jam Pilot (first in Germany).
Level 4 (High driving automation)
Recently, the private Vietnamese group Phenikaa has launched self-propelled car “level 4” just a few days after Vinfast VF e34 opened for sale.
The main difference between Level 3 and Level 4 automation is that Level 4 vehicles can intervene on their own if something goes wrong or system crashes. Which means these cars don’t need human interaction in most cases. However, humans still have the option to intervene manually.
Level 4 vehicles can operate in self-driving mode. But until laws and infrastructure develop, vehicles can only do so in a limited area (usually urban environments where top speeds average 48 km / h). This is called a geographic barrier. As a result, most existing Tier 4 vehicles are carpooling.
NAVYA, a French company, is building and selling Tier 4 shuttles and taxis in the United States that run entirely on electric power and can reach a top speed of 88 km / h
Waymo’s Alphabet recently unveiled a self-driving Tier 4 taxi service in Arizona, where it has been testing driverless cars without an assistive driver in the seat. The test has been underway for over a year with more than 16 million kilometers.
Canadian auto supplier Magna has developed technology (MAX4) to enable Level 4 capabilities in both urban and highway environments. They are partnering with Lyft to provide high-tech kits that can turn ordinary vehicles into self-driving cars.
Volvo and Baidu have announced a strategic partnership to jointly develop Level 4 electric vehicles serving the ‘robotaxi’ market in China.
Level 5 (Full automation of driving)
Level 5 vehicles do not require human attention, “dynamic driving duty” has been eliminated. Level 5 cars won’t even have a steering wheel or acceleration / brake pedal.
It won’t be limited by geographic barriers, can go anywhere and do anything an experienced driver can do. Fully autonomous vehicles are being tested in a number of countries around the world, but none have been made available to the public yet.
While the future of autonomous vehicles is promising and exciting, production in the United States is still far from passing Level 2. This is not for technological prowess but for safety.
Earlier this year, the Ponemon Institute published a report (commissioned by Synopsys) titled “Ensuring the Safety of Connected Cars: A Study of the Automotive Industry’s Cybersecurity Practices”.
The report shows that “connected” vehicles (such as self-driving cars) have a variety of physical safety features such as seat belts, airbags, and antilock brakes, but digital security does. not equivalent. When it comes to what’s needed to operate safely, connected cars aren’t ready yet.
The report is based on a survey of 593 security experts, product developers, and engineers. More than two-thirds of respondents admitted that the need for better cybersecurity is “urgent” for obvious reasons: 62% said they thought a malicious or experimental attack was intended to on auto software / parts is most likely to happen in the next 12 months.
To be fair, consumers won’t accept self-driving cars unless they’re confident they will at least be as safe as traveling on a commercial plane, train or bus. That day is coming. But first, the auto industry has to overcome a few hurdles.
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