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And it is closer than you think.
Only a few years ago, automated vehicles (AVs) seemed like a distant future. But as technology evolves, it’s easier to see how driverless cars could become reality.
That’s not to say the process won’t take time. There are also important questions to answer before this vision can come to life, including on privacy and safety. Not to mention the challenge of making everything work in Canadian winters.
Explore the road ahead to AVs with CAA!
All of these terms are used to describe the car of the future, but what do they mean? Autonomous, self-driving or driverless vehicles all indicate that driver intervention is rarely, if ever, needed. The term automated or connected vehicle covers everything from today’s vehicle with cruise control to a fully autonomous vehicle.
Automation is a scale, and there’s a difference between automated parking assistance and never touching the steering wheel. There are a variety of vehicle driver assistance features that are changing the way we drive, which are described below. Manufacturers may use different names for their automated vehicle features, but we have tried to capture some of the most popular ones.
A person is in control of every aspect of the vehicle, although technology is there to help.
A driver assistance function is automated to help with steering or braking, but not both. Level 1 automation is available in most new cars today.
These vehicles support the driver with both steering and acceleration/deceleration under specific conditions. Drivers still need to pay full attention to the road and have their hands on the wheel.
These cars can drive themselves in some situations, but still count on people to be attentive at the wheel, as the system may still need human intervention. Some manufacturers are already working on this technology.
These cars will be able to perform all driving tasks under certain conditions, but will likely still include driver controls, such as a steering wheel and gas/brake pedals, for a human to take over, such as in unmapped areas, bad weather or emergencies.
Did you know?
Some manufacturers expect to skip Level 4 over worries that drivers would pay very little attention to the road, leaving them unreliable to take over control of the vehicle in a case of an emergency.
In a fully automated car, everyone in the vehicle is a passenger. Cars might not even have driver controls. Level 5 autonomous vehicles will be able to drive in any weather or road condition without intervention.
Did you know?
At Level 5, people onboard a driverless vehicle will have the ability to read a book, watch video content or be fully engulfed in tasks other than driving.
Autonomous vehicles hold the promise of being better, safer, more inclusive and more efficient personal transportation solutions. Here are some of the ways that AVs could improve our lives.
What percentage of traffic collisions could AVs prevent?
Do the majority of Canadians believe autonomous vehicles will improve accessibility?
Do the majority of Canadians think AVs will give people more time for work and leisure?
What will be the economic benefit of AVs?
For all of its potential, there are also questions and concerns that need to be addressed before fully self-driving vehicles become a reality.