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· 3 min read
John M Telford

Self-driving cars, also known as an autonomous vehicles (AV), driverless car, Auto Pilot, Full Self-Driving, Super Cruise, robotic car (robo-car), and other marketing terms, are incorporating automation. One day, some may survive to reach the Hype Curve Plateau of Productivity and evolve into cars being capable of sensing its environment and moving safely with little or no human input.

Some early entries who have survived their own smoke tests, entered the Hype Curve race. Some withdrew early and some have literally crashed, burned, killed, or disobey traffic laws, in their Hype Curve race.

Levels of Autonomous Driving

Levels of Autonomous Driving, Explained

"To set agreed-upon standards early in the transition to autonomous vehicles, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a classification system that defines the degree of driving automation a car and its equipment may offer. Ranging from levels zero to five, the driving automation spectrum begins with vehicles without this technology and ends with entirely self-driving vehicles.

If a vehicle has Level 0, Level 1, or Level 2 driver support systems, an active and engaged driver is required. She is always responsible for the vehicle’s operation, must supervise the technology at all times, and must take complete control of the vehicle when necessary.

In the future, if a vehicle has Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5 automated driving systems, the technology takes complete control of the driving without human supervision. However, with Level 3, if the vehicle alerts the driver and requests she takes control of the vehicle, she must be prepared and able to do so.

It is worth repeating and emphasizing the following: As of May 2021, no vehicles sold in the U.S. market have a Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5 automated driving system. All of them require an alert driver sitting in the driver’s seat, ready to take control at any time. If you believe otherwise, you are mistaken, and it could cost you your life, the life of someone you love, or the life of an innocent bystander."

Where We Are

Regardless of what the self-driving car industry carnie barkers are shouting, the industry has a tough technology Hype Curve road ahead to get to Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5 automated driving systems.

This is not a self-driving car. "To be sure, there are thousands of autonomous test vehicles on the road, even some without human safety monitors behind the wheel, but anything for which you can plunk down your hard-earned cash is still just a regular car. Maybe it’s a bit smarter than the cars you’re normally used to, but it’s still dumber than anything that can accurately describe itself as “autonomous.” And we need to be really clear about that."

Maybe this is good advice Please make a dumb car "Today’s cars are dumb where they should be smart, and smart where they should be dumb. Enough already. Make a car that’s pretty much all dumb and watch it sell — because what automakers are giving people is so bad, they’ll pay more to have less of it."