Will you be able to take your shower and cook your breakfast in your car on your way to work? A word from our Autonomous Vehicles curator Peter Hellinckx:

Autonomous driving is a buzzword nowadays and a big dream for most of us. Imagine sleeping on the road to work and playing chess in a shared vehicle when coming driving back or even better, no more worries about drinking beers before driving.

The road towards Autonomous driving however is not a one-step trajectory. As in many emerging technologies we need to walk first before we start running and we need to be able to fail in a safe environment before we can unroll in more hostile environments.

For this we talk about 5 levels of autonomous driving:

1. No Automation: The driver is fully in charge of all driving aspects even when the car is enhanced with warning or intervention systems;

2. Partial automation: The car controls both steering within a lane and acceleration but the driver is responsible for all other functions like navigating and changing lanes;

3. Conditional Automation: The car is fully in charge of driving but the driver must respond to a request of the car to intervene;

4. High Automation: The care drives fully automatic without the need for a driver within specific closed environments. Outside these environments the car will behave on a lower level of automation.

5. Full Automation: No driver is needed anymore.

On the road through all of those levels, 6 major technologies are important: Sensors, Internet of things, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber-Physicals systems and security. Research and innovation in each of those areas will bring us to our ultimate goal of Full Automation.

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