The 5 Levels of Driverless Cars
Aaron Gentzler: Hello everyone and welcome. I’m publisher Aaron Gentzler. With me is Ray Blanco, editor and lead analyst for Technology Profits Daily.
Hi Ray, how are you today?
Ray Blanco: Doing great, Aaron, it’s great to be here.
Aaron Gentzler: This month our briefing is called “Autonomous Driving on the Road to Profits.”
About 18 months ago was the last time you dedicated a monthly briefing on the advances in driverless technology. To kick us off, can you tell us where driverless cars stand right now?
Ray Blanco: The technology is really ramping up and it’s growing more and more powerful.
We’ve got some resistance to overcome. There are safety concerns, insurance concerns and legal concerns. We’ve also had a few accidents.
But the bar for assessing self-driving car safety is human drivers and human drivers are awful. If you stack up the self-driving car safety record against humans, they come out looking pretty good.
Now, admittedly, there’s a lot of limits on that. We’re not seeing self-driving cars going off road in snow, rain, or things like that. But that all said the technology is ramping up and now we have multiple levels of autonomous driving.
Aaron Gentzler: Let’s talk about these levels because it’s a really clean way to describe things. Is full autonomous driving really the future?
Or do you think as we go through these levels of autonomous capability there’s going to be some mix? If so, what level is that? How do these levels break down?
Ray Blanco: Level 5, like what you first described, is a fully autonomous system. It’s at least as good as a human driver and in any environment where a human would be driving even in bad weather, unpaved surfaces, and things like that. That’s the ultimate level of autonomous driving. I expect to see that in 5, maybe in 10 years. In total there’s 5 level of driverless systems.
There’s the one we’ve all lived with our entire lives, which is level zero. That’s where the human driver does everything.
Then there’s level 1 where you start getting features like autonomous steering, maybe the car backs up and parks itself or has adaptive cruise control.
Level 2, would have multiple controls under some level of autonomy. You might have a car with both adaptive cruise and other things like emergency braking.
Level 3, you start seeing more stuff like emergency braking and a higher level of autonomy, but you still need a driver.
Level 4, is a fully autonomous car. It doesn’t cover every possible driving scenario, but 90.99% of the driving can be done by the car’s autonomous system.
Level 5 is the type of system that can do anything a human can do. It can drive off-road and in all kinds of conditions, at least as well as a human can.
In the next 5 years or so we’ll see full level 3 and even level 4 starting to come out. All of which is going to be made possible by advanced computer chips drive chips.
Which in turn is going to drive a whole bunch of revenues to chipmaking tech companies. You can think of your car turning into a data center on wheels, a rolling supercomputer with full internet connectivity and all kinds of other stuff to be able to drive autonomously.
Aaron Gentzler: Thanks Ray, this was a great update. Driverless tech is an important story. It’s been far too long since we talked about this.
If you have any questions for Ray, please send them into to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will address them in future alerts or issues.
Ray, thank you again for your time. This was a fantastic update. We’ll talk to you soon.
Ray Blanco: My pleasure, great talking to you.
For Technology Profits Daily,
Editor, Technology Profits Daily
Editor’s note: Driverless cars need to be connected, making them a 5G play too. But the backbone to 5G is something called “Halo-Fi.”
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