What is Autonomous Driving, really?

What is Autonomous Driving, really?

We are getting closer to a time when new cars will increasingly have autonomous driving technologies. Although it sounds cool, have we really considered what it might mean? What will future insurance premiums resemble? How about those crazy hackers? Are all of us going to wind up owning a 21st century Knight Rider? Who is to blame if there's a collison between my fully-autonomous car and a normal vehicle? 

Just as an aside, Tesla constantly advises drivers to use FSD Beta and to be vigilant. Many people seem certain that we're destined for a life of robot-led slavery and an endless stream of hacked cars careening off roads, but even by time we get to robotaxis and cars without steering wheels, technology would have evolved from what it is today. 

These are reasonable concerns regarding the eventual shift to autonomous commuting. The truth is that most of us don't really know what to expect, and those who do, the engineers and human interface design teams, are creating our automotive future while ironing out the details. 


There are five main levels of autonomous technology in automobiles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States, and the Society of Automotive Engineers:


Even very straightforward and well-known systems like Electronic Stability Control and the still-developing Active Cruise Control technology found in many of today's cars are already regarded as a type of autonomous technology. Yes, many of us currently drive automobiles that are only partially automated, but we are still expected to keep full control.


Currently, some brand-new cars can also combine a number of autonomous features, such as basic lane-keeping autonomy and active cruise control. But once more, driving is a hands-on activity. No kicking back with Netflix.

Before private owners may access the more advanced technologies being tested by several automakers today, legal reforms beyond level 2 will be necessary.

Futuristic Robotaxis


Represents complete system automation without driver control in some circumstances. However, the system can only be employed on freeways, and driver intervention is still frequently necessary.


Allows for complete automation, once more in some circumstances, but virtually fully without the need for driver involvement. In regions where autonomous driving is legal, the car is clever enough at this level to navigate most or even all probable situations.


The future that automakers are aiming for is one of complete autonomous automation. By that time, all new infrastructure has been built with autonomous vehicles in mind, and human control is no longer necessary. In fact, it may even be illegal to operate a vehicle under your control on public highways, except for racetracks and specialized new driving parks.


So, if we think about liability, it would depend on the level of autonomy. If your car operated entirely on its own, there would be no doubt as to who was in charge in the event of an accident. It would be obvious who isn't at fault, which is you. External causes, like as a catastrophic infrastructural failure or the actions of a human driver in another automobile, may also be the reason. The systems of the car may have malfunctioned, in which case the manufacturer is at fault. Again, you wouldn't be at fault.

The lines may appear blurry in a partially or highly automated car, but in most circumstances, the vehicle's internal telematics and external monitoring systems would offer clarity. Especially with Tesla's Autopilot, FSD Beta, car's monitoring and telematics systems, which record every aspect of your journey, nearly always have the solution.