SAE International, an organization that develops standards for engineers in various industries, has released a new visual chart for its J3016TM "Levels of Driving Automation" standard that defines the six levels of driving automation.
The new chart is designed to be easier to understand, using consumer-friendly terms and definitions to describe the levels of automation from no automation to full automation.
When new technologies are described as being autonomous vehicles or self-driving, they often have differing real-world capabilities. Some may only be able to stay in a lane and maintain speed, but still require a driver while more complex systems can manage every part of driving without assistance at any point.
The SAEJ3016 guidelines were issued in part to help with forming a regulatory framework and best practices for manufacturers and other entities to follow to ensure safe design, development, testing and deployment of highly automated vehicles.
The six levels of automation are divided into two categories, designating technologies that do require human superivsion and those that don't The new chart uses blue and green colors to visualize that key distinction. Under each level is a short description of the capabilities of each category as well as examples.
The U.S. Senate is currently trying to pass legislation that would create a regulatory framework for self-driving vehicles. As it stands today, the U.S. Department of Transportation uses J3016's six levels of automation for on-road motor vehicles in its "Federal Automated Vehicles Policy", making the document the de facto global standard adopted by stakeholders in the automated vehicle technology.