What do we mean by self-driving vehicles?


Self-driving vehicles differ in the extent to which they support driving tasks. A fully self-driving vehicle is – in all circumstances - able to carry out the driving task completely by itself, without driver intervention. But there are also partly automated systems which, to a greater or lesser degree, leave certain responsibilities to the driver. A fully self-driving vehicle is not yet available. Some think that developments in automation technology will imply that the entire driving task will be carried out by technology when we are unwilling or unable to drive ourselves [1]. As yet, there are too many uncertainties for predictions about the term within which this will be realised [2] and some people doubt whether this will ever be the case [3].

This fact sheet concerns self-driving vehicles in a broad sense, ranging from vehicles in which only a small part of the driving task is taken over by automation technology to vehicles that take over the entire driving task (see the question Which levels of self-driving vehicles can be distinguished?). Moreover, this fact sheet also concerns all vehicle types with automation technology, ranging from self-driving cars and trucks (see, for instance, the question How safe are platooning trucks?) to minibuses (see, for instance, the question How safe are self-driving shuttles/people movers?).

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Self-driving vehicles

It will probably take at least several decades for completely self-driving vehicles to become commercially available, if they ever will. Yet, Meer

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