Does this mean that people should wait until SAE Levels 3 and 4 of automated driving are achieved? Level 3 in this classification of automated driving enables drivers to relinquish steering control of their vehicles for extended periods or even permanently (Level 4). With Level 3 for example, drivers can focus attention on their children in the back seat, or write an SMS or an e-mail. At Level 4, fully automated driving, the car handles all driving tasks autonomously.
Over and above the fact that there are still unresolved legislative questions in relation to the registration of vehicles with Level 3 and 4 capabilities, their additional functions, when compared to those of a Level 2 vehicle, are quite literally an expensive proposition. Even Level 3 requires much more complex system architecture. This system architecture is no longer simply based on the ADAS already available today. Instead, autonomous driving with its sensor systems, computing power, and algorithms is essentially being reinvented. “This raises the question as to whether Level 3 and Level 4 even have any real attraction for the classic buyer of a car”, says Gollewski. “Even at Level 3, the assumed cost-benefit ratio is not a balanced one. Level 4 is really more of interest to fleet operators and robo taxis engaged in commercial operations, rather than something for the individual motorist.”