The different levels of self-driving cars, explained

Terrified by videos of Tesla owners doing irresponsible things with their Autopilot systems, or others overriding potentially catastrophic decisions by their vehicle’s beta-level Full Self Driving software?

These systems, and their limitations, contribute to confusion over the terminology employed to describe driver-assistance systems and the functions they perform. Fortunately, the Society of Automotive Engineers (the same SAE that also defines the weight of motor oil used in cars) has created specific definitions describing advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) functions by naming them Level 0 through Level 5 (under its J3016 standard).

Understanding these different levels is clouded by driver expectations of this scale, and drivers might wonder if there are…

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