Currently reading: Toyota: autonomous driving levels are causing confusion
With six levels of autonomy available now, the system's already becoming confusing for some

The boss of Toyota’s Research Institute believes the classification system for autonomous driving levels is causing confusion over the progress being made in the development of self-driving vehicle systems.

The current framework was introduced by automotive body SAE International in 2014 and features six levels of autonomy. These range from zero (in which a system can only issue warnings to drivers) to Level 5 (for ‘steering wheel optional’ driving in which cars drive themselves).

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Most manufacturers are currently working on Level 2 (defined as ‘hands off’), Level 3 (‘eyes off’) or Level 4 (‘mind off’). However, Toyota Research Institute boss Gill Pratt said the nuanced differences between the three levels is clouding the development race.

“It’s extremely important not to confuse the driving of levels with a gauge of where different companies are,” he said. “Level 4 autonomy depends on where you’re doing it [due to the need for cars to communicate with sensors], so you have to go a stage deeper.

“If you have a Level 4 car that has to be tested with safety personnel monitoring it constantly, then it’s not really Level 4, that’s Level 2. The hyper-focus on levels is not helpful in terms of what’s going on. The key is how many situations autonomous technology can handle.”

Pratt’s comments reflect confusion among drivers over the various levels. Tesla has introduced Level 2 features to its Model S car, but there have been a series of crashes caused by drivers not focusing on the road in readiness to regain control of their vehicle.

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Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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jack_harper 12 March 2020

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Both organizations have identified confusion among motorists over what these technologies are capable of, with a study claiming 71% of drivers globally and 53% of drivers in the  UK sociology assignment​ believe you can purchase a fully self-driving car today.

oliver010 5 March 2020

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Toyota will launch its first so-called "second-level" autonomous car capable of driving on the highway as part of its strategy of developing driverless cars in the coming decades. Law essay writing service UK also write on this topic u also helped on this site

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Although human drivers can always request control and there is always a cockpit in the car, level 4 is considered completely independent. While level 4 always requires the presence of the driver, at the next level of final autonomous driving, the car does not need the driver at all. Write my essay I need help to complete this topic.