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A different way to categorise autonomous driving

Senter

New Member
Sep 14, 2021
3
0
Switzerland
We have a lot of discussions around which company achieves which level of SAE autonomy (there is a brilliant thread on this here). Some argue Tesla is at level n while Waymo is at level n+1 and Ford is at level n-1. In this thread I want to propose a different categorisation that offers a different perspective on the various autonomous driving solutions. There is no scientific background and it would solely serve the purpose of comparing autonomous driving solutions from a different angle.
To disambiguate it from the SAE levels L refer to it as "quality" levels Q. Let me explain:

The premise
I assume an incapacitated or completely passive actor activating self driving. A scenario could be someone having a heart attack / fainting and needing to get to a hospital.

Possible categories (an example)
Q0:
the car is unable to transport the passenger to the destination. Either it tries or fails (accident, disengagement) or does not even try / is unable to.
Q1: the car is able to transport the passenger to the destination but does so dangerously (putting others actors at severe risk), illegally (not considering any laws) and possibly also inefficiently (slow, damaging the vehicle). It basically drives toward the general location, tries to stay on drivable surfaces and has no regards for moving obstacles.
Q2: the car is able to transport the passenger to the destination and does so cautiously (actively trying to avoid obstacles and other actors, breaking more often than accelerating) but behaves illegally and irresponsibly (e.g. driving in the wrong lanes, taking a roundabout the wrong way, ignoring red lights, ...).
Q3: the car is able to transport the passenger to the destination and does so cautiously. It behaves mildly illegally (e.g. sets confusing blinkers, erratically changes lanes, sometimes takes a "left only" lane, might run a red on a completely empty crossing, rolls over a stop). Probably the difference to Q2 would be the amount and severity of illegal actions / the amount of confusion to other drivers.
Q4: the car is able to transport the passenger to the destination without endangering other actors, following the local laws and efficiently (proper routing, confident manoeuvring)

(These categories are not perfect and can be improved upon by smarter people than me)

Why?
I don't know... I personally feel that the SAE levels are a great description of a system from a legal perspective. However a quality evaluation such as the one above is more a description from a technical / engineering level. An engineer is more focused on improving the quality while the legal and sales teams will be more focused on the regulatory approvals. As an Engineer I would rather prefer a discussion on quality levels rather than on SAE levels because progress there is way less visible.

A practical example: I personally would LOVE to have an emergency button in my car that turns on all blinkers, sends some kind of automated call to the authorities and tries to get me to a hospital. Because in such a situation I would not care about whether it ignores any laws as long as it saves me and tries not to impact anyone. And such a situation would not be considered in the SAE categorisation. But Q3 would do it... Q2 might be acceptable in grave emergencies... in SAE you would need L5.

What do you think?
 
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