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 The 6 Levels of Autonomous Vehicles.

While fully autonomous vehicles (or self-driving cars) are a long way off, there are several autonomous features available in cars today. Autonomous vehicle (AV) technology isn’t just all or nothing, it’s a spectrum from driver assistance to full automation.

Level 0 Autonomous Car Logo - No automation

Level 0 – No automation

No automated features.

Level 1 Autonomous Car Logo - Driver assistance

Level 1 – Driver Assistance

Intelligent features add a layer of safety and comfort. A human driver is required for all critical functions e.g. adaptive cruise control.

Level 2 Autonomous Car Logo - Partial automation

Level 2 – Partial Automation

At least two automated tasks are managed by the vehicle, but the driver must remain engaged with the driving task e.g. automatic parallel parking.

Level 3 Autonomous Car Logo - Conditional automation

Level 3 – Conditional Automation

The vehicle becomes a co-pilot by managing most safety-critical driving functions e.g. automatic lane changes and navigating highway interchanges. But the driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle at all times. 

Level 4 Autonomous Car Logo - High automation

Level 4 – High Automation

The vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions. The driver may have the option to control the vehicle.

Level 5 Autonomous Car Logo - Full automation

Level 5 – Full Automation

The vehicle is capable of being completely driverless. This refers to full-time automated driving in all conditions without need for a human driver.

Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles.

Driver behaviour is a leading factor in vehicle collisions. While AVs won't be perfect, experts agree they will be much better than humans in terms of safely following all the rules of the road. Fully autonomous cars are predicted to prevent 90% of traffic collisions.
Interior of autonomous car. Driverless vehicle. Self driving. UGV. Advanced driver assistant system.


Vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) would allow automated cars to communicate with each other. This communication enables cars to receive information about road conditions, traffic flow, speed and direction. Since they are able to identify the optimal route, this will help reduce traffic.
Young man working on his computer in an autonomous car.


Canadians spend over 11 million hours per year stuck in traffic. With fully autonomous cars, people will be able to focus less on driving and more on productive tasks behind the wheel.
Automobile Engineers Working on Autonomous Car Platform Chassis


Autonomous cars could bring an estimated economic benefit of $65 billion since they can help avoid costly collisions, save on fuel costs, increase productivity and create new jobs for Canadians. While jobs such as taxi drivers and Uber delivery are expected to decrease, autonomous cars will also increase the job demand for high tech machine experts, software developers and wireless network engineers.
Passenger sitting in the backseat and selects a route when autonomous taxi rides on the highway.


Automated cars will make our roads more accessible to all Canadians. Existing road conditions are not optimal for seniors, people with disabilities, rural populations and low income families. 

Frequently Asked Questions.

Vehicles are starting to collect reams of data about drivers, their contacts and their movements. The data generated by cars will be worth as much as $750 billion by 2030, according to McKinsey. CAA and others believe that people should be aware of what data is being collected in order to decide who their data is shared with — be it with their local mechanic, manufacturers, their insurance company or auto club.

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AVs rely on sensors such as radar, GPS, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and cameras to navigate their environment without human assistance. As well, AVs will use similar technology to that of Connected Vehicles; this includes wireless technology to connect your vehicle with other vehicles, transportation infrastructure and mobile devices to drive safely.

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It is difficult to predict what the cost of a fully autonomous car will be. The technology currently used in testing is expensive and some have estimated the current cost of a fully automated car to be between $100,000 and $150,000. However, once vehicles become widely available, prices are expected to decrease. Some autonomous features available in cars today vary in price;  features such as lane assistance, adaptive cruise control and automatic parallel parking are becoming standard in some vehicle models.
With AVs removing the element of human error, there may be a marked decline in the number of collisions, making our roads safer. But it's not just avoiding collisions that's important: people need to feel comfortable using this technology. The Government of Canada, vehicle manufacturers and advocacy groups are implementing policies, pilot programs and testing to ensure the technology in these vehicles are safe. 

According to IDTechEx's latest report titled "Autonomous Cars and Robotaxis 2020-2040," up to 10 percent of all new cars sold by 2030 would be Level 3+ autonomous. Experts believe that fully autonomous vehicles will not be available for us on public roads until at least 2040. This is due to the need for proper testing and safety measures before making these vehicles widely available.

Cybersecurity is a critical issue that vehicle manufacturers and the Canadian Government are working to address for the future safe deployment of AVs. In 2020, Transport Canada released their Canada’s Vehicle Cyber Security Guidance document to ensure cyber security is prioritized  through security-by-design, responsible data management practices and post-deployment considerations throughout all stages of the vehicle life cycle.

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