Five Levels Of Autonomy For Autonomous Vehicles


The autonomous vehicle market is growing, and it’s no surprise. The idea of being able to relax in your car as it drives itself is a tantalizing one, but as the technology advances, it’s important to know what level of autonomy we’re talking about here. In this article, we’ll break down these levels so that you can fully understand how far along we are in the development of driverless cars.

Level Zero

At Level Zero, the driver is in complete control of their vehicle. They can take over at any time and override any autonomous systems if they feel uncomfortable with them. This means that you cannot use any of your car’s autopilot features while driving on public roads; you must always have one hand on the wheel and remain vigilant of what’s happening around you.

Level One

In the first level of autonomy, the vehicle is driving itself, but the driver can take over when necessary. At this stage, the driver must be ready to take over at any time and must monitor the driving environment. This means that they may need to intervene if there’s something unusual happening in traffic or if they want to change lanes or exit a highway–they’re not completely hands-off yet.

In order for Level One vehicles to work efficiently and safely on public roads today (and in the near future), they must be able to communicate with other cars and infrastructure such as traffic lights or stop signs so that everyone knows who has right-of-way at any given moment in time.

Level Two

Level Two is the level of autonomy where the car can take over some functions, but the driver must be ready to take over at any time.

The car can steer and accelerate/decelerate, but the driver must be ready to take over at any time.

Level Three

Level three is the first level of autonomy where a vehicle can drive itself under certain conditions. The driver must be ready to take over at any time, but does not have to remain vigilant or alert in order to do so.

The vehicle will provide warnings if the driver is not ready to take over, and if these warnings are ignored by an unfriendly passenger (or person who just wants more time on their phone), then you’ll be told that your ride has been canceled and it’s time for someone else behind you in line!

Level Four

Level Four is where we’re at now. The vehicle is capable of performing all safety-critical driving functions and monitoring roadway conditions for an entire trip. The driver does not need to pay attention to the road, but may intervene at any time during the drive. There is no need for a steering wheel or pedals (though some vehicles may still offer them as options).

The levels of autonomy for vehicles will range from full driver control to no human input at all.

The levels of autonomy for vehicles will range from full driver control to no human input at all.

Level Zero – No Automation: The vehicle is operated by a human driver and relies on them exclusively for operation. This includes cars that don’t have any kind of automation in them at all, like a stick shift or antique car.

Level One – Driver Assistance: The vehicle can perform some tasks autonomously but requires the human operator to take over when necessary. Some examples include adaptive cruise control (ACC), automatic braking systems, lane departure warning systems (LDWS) and blind spot monitoring systems (BSMS).

Level Two – Partial Automation: In this stage, the car takes over most aspects of driving but still requires a driver who must be ready to take over at any time if necessary. This might mean that it can drive itself under certain conditions such as highway cruising speeds or in stop-and-go traffic conditions while still requiring human oversight when there are unexpected hazards like pedestrians crossing streets unexpectedly or other vehicles veering into your path unexpectedly; however such situations should be rare enough so long as they are handled properly by both parties involved (driver(s)/AI).


There is much debate about how autonomous vehicles will be used, what kinds of impacts they will have on society and whether or not they’re safe. But one thing is certain: Autonomous cars are coming. And when they do arrive on our streets, we’ll need to know which level of autonomy each car has so that we can make informed decisions about whether or not we want to ride in them (and if so, how safely).