The vision of autonomous vehicles completely transforming our roads and lifestyles has long fascinated both scientists and ordinary consumers. But is this vision becoming a reality? The answer to this question is complex and depends on how we define “full autonomy”.
Current Level of Autonomy
First, it’s important to understand how we assess the level of autonomy in a vehicle. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has developed a scale from 0 to 5, where 0 indicates no autonomy and 5 represents full autonomy without any human intervention.
As of writing this article, most autonomous vehicles have achieved level 2 or 3. This means they can take over some driving functions but still require active driver attention and readiness to take control.
Challenges for Full Autonomy
Transitioning to full autonomy (level 5) poses a significant technological challenge. Vehicles need to flawlessly interpret and respond to an infinite number of scenarios that can occur on the road. This requires advanced artificial intelligence systems that can learn and adapt to new situations.
But technology is not the only consideration. Introducing level 5 autonomous vehicles also involves significant ethical and legal issues. For example, who is responsible when an autonomous vehicle is involved in an accident? How do we ensure privacy and data security in vehicles that are extensively connected to networks?
Are We Close to Full Autonomy?
Given these challenges, some experts believe that full autonomy is still far off. However, advancements in AI are incredibly dynamic, and technology that seemed impossible a few years ago is now part of our daily lives.
Are we close to full autonomy? From a technological standpoint, the answer may be “not as close as we would like”. But from the standpoint of potential and aspirations, we are closer than ever before. Regardless of when autonomous vehicles reach level 5, one thing is certain: artificial intelligence plays a crucial role in this journey, transforming our roads and changing the way we think about transportation.