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vehicle intelligence

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Vehicle intelligence is the application of sensors, mechatronics and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance vehicles or make them fully autonomous driverless cars.

Vehicle intelligence enhances driving safety and increases engine performance efficiency.

All cars with vehicle intelligence don’t necessarily have the capacity for autonomous driving, and may only use this technology for driving comfort safety and convenience. Features that may depend on vehicle intelligence include adaptive cruise control, stability control, accident avoidance systems, navigation and adaptive engine control.

Intelligent features in vehicles can be used to rank vehicles on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) six levels of automation. These levels of ranking begin with zero, where humans do the driving, through driver assistance technologies up to fully autonomous cars. The five levels that follow zero automation are:

  • Level 1: Advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) aid the human driver with either steering, braking or accelerating, though not simultaneously. ADAS includes rearview cameras and features like a vibrating seat warning to alert drivers when they drift out of the traveling lane.
  • Level 2: An ADAS that can steer and either brake or accelerate simultaneously while the driver remains fully aware behind the wheel and continues to act as the driver.
  • Level 3: An automated driving system (ADS) can perform all driving tasks under certain circumstances, such as parking the vehicle. In these circumstances, the human driver must be ready to re-take control and is still required to be the main driver of the vehicle.
  • Level 4: An ADS is able to perform all driving tasks and monitor the driving environment in certain circumstances. In those circumstances, the ADS is reliable enough that the human driver needn't pay attention.
  • Level 5: The vehicle's ADS acts as a virtual chauffeur and does all the driving in all circumstances. The human occupants are passengers and are never expected to drive the vehicle.
This was last updated in June 2018

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