A Guide to Driverless/Self-Driving/Autonomous Terminology

By | 30 March, 2015

dictionaryEvery new technology has its share of buzz words and new terms. Here’s a short guide to some of the special vocabulary that is developing around the world of self-driving vehicles.

Levels of Automation – The five levels of vehicle automation, as defined by the U. S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Briefly, they are:

No-Automation (Level 0): All vehicles between about 1890 (after the horse) and 1980 (before non-lock brakes)

Function-specific Automation (Level 1): One or more specific control functions, for example non-lock brakes or electronic stability control.

Combined Function Automation (Level 2): At least two primary control functions designed to work together. Example is adaptive cruise control in combination with lane centering.

Limited Self-Driving Automation (Level 3): Almost completely self-driving but under limited conditions, e.g. on the highway only. Driver is expected to be available for occasional control, but with plenty of warning (for example, exiting the freeway in ten minutes).

Full Self-Driving Automation (Level 4): Tell Waze where you want to go and go back to sleep.

SDV – Self-Driving vehicle

V2V – Vehicle to vehicle communication network. V2V allows cars to talk to each other about road conditions, congestion, weather, and gossip such as “Did you see that bright yellow Chevy on Route 1? What was her owner thinking?”

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