Autonomous Mobility

Why few car-makers are skipping SAE Level-3 automation?

By Swapnil Nanir - Mar 13 2018
As the research and development of autonomous vehicle progresses, automakers are confident about the operation and functioning of Level-4 and Level-5 automation; however, skeptical about the conditional automation i.e. Level-3. This stage of autonomous vehicle involves the handover of vehicle control to the human driver in case of emergency. The question arises that whether the driver would be in position to react promptly to the situation and take back the complete control of vehicle with in no time. It is unrealistic to expect the 100% of attentiveness of the driver in autonomous mode. Hence, the automakers are afraid of this kind of partial automation as the small distraction could lead to fatal accidents and traffic chaos.

Audi has already tested its Level-3 autonomous vehicle A8 and is on verge of launching it by year end. The vehicle allows drivers to take their off eyes road and serves as traffic jam pilot. BMW and Mercedes-Benz are planning to introduce level-3 automation vehicles by next year. These L-3 vehicles need human take-over within 10 seconds. However, many automakers such as Volvo, Ford and Google are arguing about the safety of this conditional driving vehicle. These automakers are the once who have bypassed the level-3 automation and jumped directly to fully autonomous level-4 and level-5 featured vehicles. Toyota also have similar take on this. The company finds L-3 automation difficult to accomplish as compared to fully autonomous L-4 and L-5. Ford and Volvo considers level-3 as myth and the most unsafe automation. Hence, these OEMs are skipping L-3 to offer L-4 vehicles earliest by 2021. Many researchers believe that skipping L-3 and directly introducing L-4 and L-5 will create market opportunities for fully autonomous vehicles and ride sharing. Moreover, according to industry sentiments, full autonomy offers lots of benefits and opportunities such as automated delivery and mobility to non-drivers and is expected to take over the conditional autonomy vehicle market at faster pace.
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