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Février 2022 | Produits

Véhicule autonome : innovation dans le secteur des équipementiers

Vehicles move forward into driving autonomy. It clearly seems that in the forthcoming future autonomous vehicles will emulate the human driving ability. This is why such vehicles build in components and IT systems (sensors, processors, software and actuators) for driving and controlling the vehicle in a safe and driverless fashion.

However, roads are not still fully driven by autonomous cars, although self-parking cars are already out there. The car and component industry is working on meeting with current autonomous driving standards.

Autonomous vehicles: autonomous driving standards

Diverse organisms have carried out several classifications to define the autonomous driving levels of autonomous vehicles.

The first one was NHTSA, the United States federal agency with watches road safety. Short after, in Germany, BASt, the federal Institute of road investigation, made up another classification which, as the American one, defined 5 autonomous vehicle’s autonomy levels  

A year later in 2014, SAE, international Society of Automotive engineers, made up another classification with six automation levels.  

Regarding, OICA, international organization of car manufacturers, created a new document which mixes both BASt and SAE with emphasis in the second.

In this sense, it is SAE standard the more accepted and general from all of them. In fact, in 2016 NHTSA shelved their own standard to use SAE’s instead.

According to it, each autonomous vehicle autonomy level is defined by four aspects:

  1. Vehicles movement: who is in charge? A person or a machine? In regard to two types of movement: longitudinal (break, gas) or lateral (steering)
  2. Detection and reaction on objects or issues through surrounding monitoring systems: a person or a machine?
  3. Driving support: is the person or the machine the one reacting to an automated system failure or in case of functioning capacity loss?
  4. Conditions for system function (time, weather, speed, traffic) are there conditions limiting it?

In this way, considering those aspects, together with the assessment on how much human presence is required in autonomous driving, SAE’s standard defines six levels of autonomy in driving: from 0 to 5.

SAE classification of autonomy levels for autonomous driving

  • Level 0: No driving autonomy. Performance on driving is fully made by the person driving the vehicle
  • Level 1: Assistance for driver. In this automation level:
    • The vehicle incorporates certain driving automation technology to enforce longitudinal or lateral movement but never both at the same time.
    • The driving person is the one performing the necessary tasks for driving.
    • The system does not react to objects or issues around, it is a driver’s task
    • The system functions according to specific conditions and the driver is who always drives and controls the situation. They should keep on at all around them
  • Level 2: Partial vehicle automation. In the level 2 of autonomy:
    • The vehicle incorporates both lateral and longitudinal movement to the automation driving at the same time
    • The person in the car does not have to execute movement tasks.
    • The system does not detect object nor issues and does not react to them. It is the driver’s responsibility
    • The system works depending on conditions and the driver must keep on to all around them. The driver keeps being the one in charge of the vehicle.
  • Level 3: Automation conditioned to driving. In this level:
    • The vehicle incorporates both lateral and longitudinal movement to the automation driving at the same time
    • The system is able to fully detect and react to objects and issues
    • The person will become the driver just in cases in which the system requires it or fails. Also, in moments in which functioning features get broken so the human becomes the driver only when they actively intervene.
    • These functioning conditions must happen so the system works
  • Level 4: Autonomy taken up to driving. In the level 4:
    • The vehicle incorporates both lateral and longitudinal movement to the  automation driving at the same time.
    • The system also holds full capacity to detect and react to objects and issues around.
    • In case of a main system failure, a back-up system takes over until reaching a minimum risk level. A person is not required to intervene in case of a main system’s error. The human driver disappears.
    • However, the system works on certain conditions with limitations, there might be cases in which the car will stop driving.
  • Level 5: Full driving autonomy. This would be the highest level of autonomous vehicles which could be reached
    • The vehicle incorporates both lateral and longitudinal movement to the automation driving at the same time.
    • The system holds full capacity to detect and react to objects and issues around as well.
    • In case of a main system failure, a back-up system takes over until reaching a minimum risk level. A person is not required to intervene in case of a main system’s error.
    • There are no conditions limiting the system’s function, therefore, the vehicle can go on driving at any moment or circumstance.
    • Because of all that, no person is required to drive the vehicle.

Autonomous cars: what level of autonomy are we in?

According to SAE standard, currently, the majority of cars reach somehow to autonomous driving standard level 2. However, we are moving on to level 3 of conditional automation which can be observed in the market’s forthcoming models.

In the sense, by the end of the year, in Europe, Mercedes obtained the EU’s level 3 certification for autonomous driving to be premiered by the Mercedes Class S and its electric version: Mercedes EQS. Although, they will only be allowed on German roads -the only ones in Europe having an acting legislation on the matter-.

That is, that the automated car is reaching the automated level 3, and it is foreseen that fully automated vehicles will be our reality by 2030.

In order to get there, automotive component manufacturers invest in great efforts to move into connected mobility which together with sustainable mobility is the future to which Spanish automotive component manufacturers belonging to Autoparts from Spain are looking at.

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