Levels of Autonomous Driving, Explained

As self-driving vehicles move from science fiction to reality, automakers are poised to make key advancements in this area over the next five to 10 years. But vehicle autonomy can potentially mean many things and have many implications. To set agreed-upon standards early in the transition to autonomous vehicles, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a classification system which defines the degree of autonomy by which a vehicle operates. Ranging from levels zero to five, the driving automation spectrum begins with manually controlled vehicles and ends with completely driverless chariots.