Why You Need to Know All 6 Vehicle Autonomy Levels

The race is on to create the best driverless car, but not many people know there are varying degrees of vehicle autonomy. While most think of autonomous vehicles as futuristic and 100% hands-free, the reality is a little different. It is important to note that an autonomy level does not describe the vehicle but the system. For example, a driving system rated at level 5 could be inside a vehicle with a steering wheel or without one. In short, this means the individual cannot always discern a vehicle’s autonomy level just by looking at it.

Autonomy Levels Explained

There are six levels to define a vehicle’s relative autonomy, ranging from 0 to 5.

Level 0: Non-Automated

As the name implies, there is no automation to level 0 vehicles. A human driver controls all aspects of the vehicle including steering, braking, accelerating, and navigating traffic.

Level 1: Driver Assistance

A level 1 automated car can perform one of two automated functions, but not at the same time: steering or adjusting vehicle speed. The driver must also re-engage should the automated system not react as expected. Otherwise, the driver is responsible for all other functions in the vehicle. The most common example of this is adaptive cruise control.

Level 2: Partial Automation

Vehicles with a level 2 driving system can perform both steering and speed adjustment. Such vehicles are able to center themselves in traffic lanes and adjust their speed as necessary. Unlike level 1 vehicles, drivers operating a level 2 system can have their hands and feet off the wheel and pedals at the same time. However, the driver must remain alert and ready to retake control of the vehicle.

Level 3: Conditional Automation

Level 3 driving systems mark the beginning of what the average driver considers an autonomous vehicle. In most conditions, vehicles with level 3 automation can manage almost all driving functions, including monitoring its surroundings. However, it cannot navigate every situation, and the system will alert the driver when he or she needs to take over to handle it. It is for this reason that drivers of level 3 autonomous vehicles must remain alert at all times. Otherwise, they will not have enough time to react should the vehicle require them to take back control.

Level 4: High Automation

This is the first level of automation that does not require a human to be on standby. However, such vehicles can only operate under specific conditions. For example, a level 4 vehicle will require a driver to operate it on unmapped roads or in extreme weather. Otherwise, it can perform all functions when on a highway in decent weather.

Level 5: Full Automation

In theory, a level 5 system could operate a vehicle on any road and under any conditions that a human could. The only step the passenger would need to perform would be to key in a final destination.

Drivers need to understand the difference in automation to be aware of how involved they should be. The jump from level 3 to level 4 is significant, but not all drivers realize this. A level 3 vehicle can lull drivers into a false sense of security. Drivers may let their mind wander and fail to remain alert enough to react if/when the vehicle alerts them to a condition it cannot perform. To stay up to date with the latest vehicular technological advancements, contact the experts at The Reilly Company.

Did You Know These Factors Make You a High Risk Driver?

Every car owner would love inexpensive car insurance rates with comprehensive coverage, but a number of factors determine the final cost. Most individuals are familiar with common elements in the car insurance rate calculation—accident history, driver age, and tickets can all affect the final quote. However, several other sneaky factors affect insurance premiums as well.

 Your Gender Can Cost You

Everyone knows young men, especially those under 25, often pay more than their female counterparts do. Statistics are working against them in this instance, as their demographic racks up the most tickets and collisions. However, being a woman does not always mean lower insurance rates. Many insurers offer men aged 40 to 60 better rates than they do women—even when both have perfect driving records. In this instance, statistics are once more the culprit. Data shows women in this age bracket are riskier to insure than men of the same age are.

Being Single Can Cost You

Drivers may grow weary of hearing it, but statistics once again net married couples better rates. This is because married people are less likely to get into car accidents than married individuals are. As a result, divorced or widowed individuals may see their insurance rates go up once their insurer determines they are now single.

Location Can Cost You

Many individuals assume only those living in high-crime areas experience higher insurance premiums, but this is not the case. Individuals living in cities will also receive higher quotes than those living in rural areas. This is a simple equation. More people + more cars = more accidents. Not only that, but cities are more prone to scams and fraud as well.

How insurers determine someone’s insurance rate is complex and often out of the individual’s control. Other factors such as credit history and previous insurance history can affect future quotes as well. While individuals can shop around for the best rate, The Reilly Company can help them find the best coverage for the lowest cost much faster. Contact us today to learn more.

Safe Driving Tips to Prevent Accidents

The rise of technology revolutionized the auto industry. Cars are now safer than ever. However, there are still a staggering number of car accidents each year, the majority of which are due to driver error. The best way to avoid an accident is to employ safe driving behaviors. Below are several safe driving tips to reduce incidents.

Drive with Traffic

Follow the speed of the other cars on the road. If there are multiple lanes, pick the one that suits the speed you wish to travel. Always remember that each lane farther to the left moves (or should move) faster than the one to its right. Also remember that in the US, cars coming from the left always have the right of way. When there are few or no other cars on the road, do your best to stay near the speed limit – setting your cruise control will help greatly with this.

Remove or Avoid Distractions

Distracted driving, like speeding, is a significant contributor to car accidents. As drivers’ attention spans shrink, the urge to talk, text, or check social media while driving increases. However, interacting with an electronic device behind the wheel reduces reaction time and pulls the driver’s attention away from the road. Because of this, many states passed laws banning the use of handheld cell phones. Even so, other distractions can prove just as lethal such as applying makeup, eating food, or chatting with other passengers. If drivers cannot remove distractions (such as other passengers in the car), they should take pains to reduce them. The best way to do so is to always keep their eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.

Additional Tips

While following the speed of traffic and limiting distractions will improve driver safety, there are several other suggestions that can reduce the risk of accidents. Some examples include:

  • Wear a seatbelt
  • Do not follow other vehicles too closely
  • Do not drive with intoxicating substances in your system (this includes marijuana)
  • Do not drive drowsy
  • Take extra precautions in foul weather (i.e. slow down, increase following distance, etc.)
  • Perform regular car maintenance

Practicing safe driving techniques can help reduce the likelihood of an accident, but drivers can only account for their own behavior. Defensive driving can help, but sometimes accidents are unavoidable. The Reilly Company can help individuals assess their risk factors and determine if their car insurance coverage is adequate in the event of an accident. For more information on safe driving, contact us.