Between the buzz over self-driving cars at CES 2016 and the Obama administration’s announcement to invest almost $4 billion in autonomous vehicle research over the next 10 years, the race to create the best self-driving car has never been hotter.
But what does “autonomous driving” really mean?
In 2013, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defined five different levels of autonomous driving. And on January 15, the NHTSA updated their policy to reflect that “the widespread deployment of fully-autonomous vehicles is now feasible.”
According to the document, the NHTSA will provide “best-practice guidance to industry on establishing principles of safe operation for fully-autonomous vehicles”—in other words, vehicles at level 4—in the next six months.