Home Technology & Safety 5 Levels of Vehicle Autonomy and the Opportunities That Come With Them
5 Levels of Vehicle Autonomy and the Opportunities That Come With Them

5 Levels of Vehicle Autonomy and the Opportunities That Come With Them


Photo source: ANSYS  Blog

Autonomous vehicles (AV) have gained public interest, creating new solutions in vehicle safety, better energy consumption, more efficient parking as well as cost reduction in building new roads and infrastructure.

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the autonomy levels rank on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being a low form of driving assistance, and 5 being complete automation – demanding no monitoring and driver intervention at all.

With ground-breaking technologies comes a great range of job opportunities and businesses, with respect to each 5 well-known autonomous driving level.

This article briefly explains each level, while citing a few examples of job and business created.


Level 1: Driving Assistance

At Level 1 Autonomy, some of the functions like steering system and vehicle speed can be controlled by the vehicle, but not both simultaneously. The driver performs all other aspects of driving and has full responsibility when it comes to monitoring the road and taking charge if the assistance system fails to act properly.

Business Created:

  • Software development and integration
  • Sensor and radar production

Jobs Created:

  • Vehicle Systems Developer-researching, designing, implementing, and managing software programs that are related to automotive.
  • Sensor and Radar Engineer- developing mathematical algorithms, improving sensor, and radar efficiency as well as fixing technical bugs.


Level 2: Partial Automation

In certain circumstances, the vehicle can steer, accelerate and brake while the driver is allowed to disengage from some of their tasks. However, lane changing, responding to traffic signals and scanning for hazards mostly fall to the driver. In short, most safety-critical functions are still under driver’s responsibility.

Business Created:

  • Software and systems maintenance

Jobs Created:

  • Field Autonomy Engineer-scouting prospect locations for possible deployments and pilots.
  • Lidar Software Engineer-developing algorithms and software to process geospatial data for visual mapping purpose.


Level 3: Conditional Automation

At this level, most aspects of the driving, including environment monitoring can be managed by the vehicle, given the right conditions. If it encounters a scenario that it cannot diagnose, the driver would have to step in and take over the system in order to prevent any accidents.

Business Created:

  • Field mapping
  • Machine learning development

Jobs Created:

  • Autonomous Navigation Software Engineer-designing, coding, and maintaining automated test suites for algorithms and enable navigation of autonomous driving.
  • Software and Systems Expert- designing, maintaining, and implementing database management systems by integrating computer applications and operating systems.


Level 4: High Automation

Under selected conditions, not only the vehicle can operate the basic aspects of driving, it can also adapt to events such as changing lanes, turning and using signals. The only limitation it encounters is when the vehicle wants to enter a more dynamic environment like traffic jams or a merge onto the highway.

Business Created:

  • Robotics development and maintenance
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems development

Jobs Created:

  • Robotics Engineer-designing, building, and testing efficient robots that portray high safety level during operation.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programmer-working closely with robotics engineers to develop operating software that can be used for AI programs, AI applications, and robots.

Level 5: Complete Automation

This particular level fully integrates the advanced computer system within the vehicle, enabling it to negotiate like a human driver, in terms of all critical tasks, full environment monitoring and unique driving conditions like traffic jams or even parking.

Business Created:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Field test bed
  • Cyber-security development and maintenance

Jobs Created:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems Experts-programming computers to test hypothesis through cognitive simulation, relevant to how human mind works.
  • Cyber-security Engineer- designing computer systems equipped to deal with possible security issues that may arise.

 It’s as clear as day that this emerging industry greatly contributes in the increase of business opportunities. Not to worry, here are some key skills that you can develop if you want to further career in self-driving industry.

  • Robust problem-solving skills and mathematical aptitude
  • Literacy in programming languages such as C++, Matlab, and Java
  • Great attention to detail and excellent time management skills
  • Able to work cohesively in a dynamic team
  • Possess in-depth knowledge and understanding of the latest technologies and their effect on a commercial environment

Even though the self-driving industry is still in its infancy, it is currently evolving progressively and often in unpredictable ways. It is important for stakeholders to venture themselves into relevant engineering studies, in order to prepare and adapt to emerging autonomous vehicle technology.