Blurring the Line Between Level 2 and Level 3

One of the big debates in autonomous vehicle development is whether it’s safe to build a Level 3 autonomous vehicle. This would be a vehicle that could drive itself independently, but could throw back control to the human driver at any moment.

Ford, for example, rather prominently believes that Level 3 vehicles are unsafe.

Tesla, on the other hand, seems to be iteratively developing a Level 3 vehicle.

GM just released their plan, and it reads like something that blurs the line between Level 2 (ADAS) and Level 3:

General Motors’s semi-autonomous “Super Cruise” system will allow drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel for extended periods, but will stop the vehicle automatically if drivers are not attentive, according to a government letter made public on Monday.

The largest U.S. automaker in September 2014 unveiled planned technology to allow drivers on highways to let the vehicle take over driving itself.

But if the road has too many twists and turns or the vehicle detects the driver is not paying attention, it issues a series of alerts. If the human driver does not take over, the vehicle will automatically slow down and then put on the hazard lights.

I guess that just goes to show that it’s hard to draw bright lines in this space.

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