Autonomous cars are much closer to reality than most might think. In fact, we have many self-driving cars on the road right now.

Self-driving cars are connected vehicles that use a blend of machine learning, software and hardware to collect data in real-time to learn how to navigate various driving conditions. Contrary to popular belief, “self-driving” does not need to include the use of artificial intelligence.

The Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) broke down the levels of driving automation to define where categories of self-driving features fall under.

The six levels include:

  • Level 0: No automation
  • Level 1: Driver assistance
  • Level 2:  Partial automation
  • Level 3: Conditional automation
  • Level 4: High automation
  • Level 5: Full automation

Features in the lower levels don’t typically involve artificial intelligence and include things like brake assist and lane assist. Advanced technology and software in higher levels of autonomy allow cars to monitor surroundings and operate the car more independently of human drivers compared to lower levels.

For example, cars with level three autonomy can conditionally monitor surroundings and steer, accelerate and decelerate while still relying on the human driver to navigate scenarios that are difficult for its level of autonomy to process and scenarios that is has not been trained on. Extreme weather conditions is just one example of complex scenarios for some autonomous cars.

These more sophisticated features characteristics are dependent on the level of deep learning models found within the car and, in turn, the reliance needed on a human driver.

The cars of the future are a lot closer to reality than we think and it’s crucial to understand them, whether we choose to use them or not. To get a deeper understanding of self driving cars, take a look below at this animated infographic breaking down autonomous cars from The Simple Dollar. This guide explains everything you need to know about the progress and future of self-driving cars, including an in-depth walkthrough of major technology and software found in these cars as well as the dangers created by autonomous vehicles.


self driving cars animated infographic

provided by guest author: Jessica Santos from “The Simple Dollar”