Many will know them or even have them in their car or truck:

Driving assistance systems such as cruise control, lane departure warning or emergency brake assistance. So, autonomous driving at level 1 is already a reality today. With the help of algorithms, an autonomous vehicle can self-reliantly chauffeur the passenger without him being required to observe the system.

In total, there are five levels that aim to achieve the goal of fully automated driving:

Level 1: Assisted driving

  • The driver has absolute control over his vehicle and keeps an eye on the traffic and is liable for traffic violations
  • Various assistance systems support the driver:                                                     → For example, a cruise control ensures that the speed is maintained or with an automatic cruise control (ACC), which brakes or accelerates the car depending on the distance to the vehicle in front

Level 2: Semi-automated driving

  • The driver controls his vehicle, is obliged to monitor the traffic constantly and is also responsible for traffic violations
  • As with Level 1, assistance systems support the driver in certain tasks
  • A Level 2 vehicle can temporarily perform tasks on its own. Without human intervention under defined conditions, the vehicle can hold the lane, brake and accelerate
  • As opposed to level 1, level 2 allows the driver to temporarily take his hands off the wheel when the vehicle is driving in semi-automated mode

Level 3: Highly automated driving

  • The vehicle can perform certain driving tasks independently and without human intervention
  • The driver can set his car to the highly automated mode, turn away from the traffic and do other things, such as reading a newspaper
  • The driver has to take control of the vehicle if instructed to do so by the system
  • The driver is liable only if he does not comply with these instructions
  • In the specified applications, the car drives independently

Level 4: Fully automated driving

  • The driver can leave the task completely to the vehicle
  • The vehicle overwhelms certain routes (motorway, multi-storey car park) on its own, such as driving onto the motorway on its own (accelerating, flashing, filing, overtaking and leaving the motorway again)
  • The vehicle can also drive independently without passengers. Occupants may engage in other activities, such as sleeping or using the smartphone
  • Passengers are not liable for traffic violations or damage during the fully automated journey

Level 5: Autonomous driving

  • Passengers do no longer perform any driving tasks: the vehicle can drive without passengers
  • Car technology handles all tasks and traffic situations independently, such as crossing an intersection, entering a roundabout or stopping in front of a zebra crossing
  • The passengers are not liable for traffic violations or damages

Depending on the degree of automation, the number of accidents can be further reduced, because 90 percent of all accidents are caused by human error. In addition, more precise route planning can improve traffic flow, make parking easier and relieve passengers of the stress of traffic jams or long distances.

On the other hand, users of autonomous vehicles will not only have to pay with money, but also with data. Security must be integrated into the entire IT infrastructure to prevent hacker attacks on autonomous vehicles.


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