Are we there yet? Governments, consumers, and engineers alike want to know how close the automotive world is to producing a fully autonomous Level 5 vehicle.
While some experts say such vehicles could hit the road in the next few years, they're a shrinking minority. Most forecasts say a truly self-driving car is at least a decade away — and maybe much longer, because it requires disruptive technology that has yet to be invented.
At stake are billions of dollars-worth of automotive and tech industry profits, as well as an untold number of human lives. More than a million people around the world die each year in road deaths according to the World Health Organization, though the extent to which such deaths are fully attributable to driver error and could be prevented by high-tech cars is up for debate. Still, the European Union is reportedly planning to approve the sale of Level 4 vehicles — those that are fully autonomous within a specific geographic area or set of circumstances — as part of its attempt to reach zero road deaths by 2050.
There are currently no such cars on the market. Level 4 technology is employed in Waymo ridesharing, a taxi service by the General Motors subsidiary Cruise, and a handful of other projects, but not in consumer vehicles. Level 3, which requires the driver to take over when the system encounters a problem, currently can be found in select Mercedes models in Germany and a small number of Honda Legends in Japan. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in Teslas and other high-tech cars available to consumers typically are classified as Level 2.
From Semiconductor Engineering
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