With six levels of autonomy available now, the system's already becoming confusing for some
Steve Cropley Autocar
2 April 2018

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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2 April 2018

 I think the fully autonomous Car is some way off yet, the amount of work getting the infrastructure set up won’t happen overnight, it may take a decade to get anywhere near full autonomy,and even then there will be hiccups, bug fixes after say some bad accidents happening that a human would have dealt with better, personally, I be glad to have reduced my Driving because I think the Roads are going to get busier and busier as the Century unfolds.

2 April 2018
Good to know Toyota is making a stand. Have to say though the latest Tesla crash was due to driver negligence.

2 April 2018

Great that TOYOTA puts a brave face regards Autonomous Technology. Their range of product is void of any substance regarding full EV vehicles and their Autonomous Technology offers might resume to just TSS packs. What confusion it makes to the public if you present nothing at all? Why is it so important to you what others do and say? You have no product to show any different! Few, so few commitment.

Keeping a close eye track on all manufacturers producing EVs since, at least, 2010 and no EV TOYOTA so far on the market. Next in line will be the Avensis shut-down due to falling demand on the sector. 

You are right TOYOTA: demand for a 10 year old car, devoided of any diesel, hybrid, petrol or plug-in competitive version is falling, no matter how you throw at it several cosmetic changes.

3 April 2018

Surely, as soon as you are 'eyes off' you might as well be 'mind off'  ?

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