Cars That Are Almost Self-Driving

2019 Tesla Model X
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You Can’t Buy a Self-Driving Car, But These Cars Come Close

Despite some of the news headlines you might see, we’re still a few years away from a true self-driving vehicle. However, a lot of the technology that will get us there is already available. Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous cars, are a goal of a lot of automakers and technology companies. You can’t buy one yet, but various levels of semi-autonomy are available.

If your car has features like blind spot monitoring or a rearview camera, you’ve already experienced some of the advancements that will eventually contribute to a full self-driving car. Features like lane departure warning and smart cruise control use complicated sensor networks to communicate with your car and help keep you safe. Tesla is one of the major forces in bringing such technology into the spotlight, but plenty of other automakers deserve credit for their innovations, too.

The Society of Automotive Engineers has classified self-driving vehicles into stages, which range from Level 0 to 5. Let’s take a brief look at each stage. Level 0 does not feature any self-driving tech at all. Level 1 cars offer at least one system that helps the driver brake, steer, or accelerate, but if there are multiple systems, they are not capable of communicating with each other. Level 2 cars can simultaneously control steering and speed, even if the driver is not driving, for short periods of time. Think lane-centering technology combined with advanced cruise control, as an example. Level 3 vehicles are fully autonomous but require driver attention. These cars aren’t yet available but are being tested by some tech startups. Level 4 cars, once programmed to a destination, will not need driver input, but the controls are available should the driver wish to intervene. Level 5 cars will be fully autonomous without any driver input whatsoever.

For more about the levels of self-driving cars, click here. Keep reading to learn more about cars with semi-autonomous features.

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