I am constantly railing against the media that reports on self-driving vehicles stating that they are biased and unclear. Yesterday Astrid posted on parknews.biz an article entitled: “Five levels of parking autonomy explained.” It is from a website called “Gearbrain” and written by Alistair Charlton.
It perfectly describes the five levels of self driving vehicles and how Uber and Lyft won’t replace car ownership until we have a full fledged level 5.
Level 1 is available on high end cars today – It includes things like a speed control that automatically senses the car in front and speeds up or slows down as it does and a ‘stay in lane’ feature that nudges you back in the lane if you drift out. Must have 100% driver control
Level 2 is the Tesla approach. To wit:
Level Two systems can look mightily impressive, but in reality the car is doing little more than following the leader or keeping between the while lines. These systems cannot deal with city center road networks, junctions, pedestrian crossings, single-lane roads with no markings, poor weather and many other situations. As before, the driver is fully accountable for the actions of the car and can place no blame on the system in the event of a collision.
Level 3 is nebulous. Its covers a gray area between level 2 and level 4.
When enabled, the system actively takes over control of the car and the monitoring of its surroundings. Where Level Two technology requires constant attention from the driver, Level Three does not — but only to an extent. For example, Audi’s system can drive the A8 in highway traffic at up to 37mph, but beyond that speed the driver must take back control.
Driver must be available to swing into action if the on board computer tell her to.
Level 4 This is what automakers are currently working towards and describes a system where the car is capable of driving itself almost all of the time. This includes highway driving (at any legal speed), as well as town and city driving where the road layouts are far more complex.
Single-lane country roads are also theoretically included in a Level Four vehicle’s skill set, although poor weather and unusual events (complex roadworks and diversions, for example) will require the driver to take back control. Level Four autonomy featured on several concept cars at the Geneva motor show. The Rimac C_Two electric hypercar is claimed to have Level Four — or rather, it is claimed to once it actually goes into production. Meanwhile, Aston Martin’s revived Lagonda brand showed off a luxury electric limo concept also boasting Level Four driving
Level 5 Completely theoretical for now, Level Five autonomy is where humans have no control over the vehicle at all — other than telling it where to take them.
Such cars will navigate all kinds of roads without issue, no matter what the weather conditions are like, and allow passengers to work, eat, read or even sleep while onboard. This is the end goal for Google and Uber, who want to offer robotic taxi services for customers who aren’t able to get around on their own.
Tesla’s Elon Musk said in the spring of 2017 that one of his cars would drive from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York without its driver touching any controls for the entire journey. After promising to conduct this test in late-2017, it is yet to actually happen. Musk, well-known for delivering late, also said Tesla owners would be able to sleep in their cars by 2019, a claim which now seems unlikely. A more likely short-term scenario is that Level Five vehicles will be used in controlled environments, such as for shuttle passengers around airports, or in large, open pedestrianised areas.
Level 5 is the only ‘threat’ to our industry. And its completely theoretical. We are barely in level 2. So have an adult beverage, celebrate the end of winter, and enjoy. Parking isn’t going anywhere for a long, long time.