In this course, the car will begin proving its abilities as a highly automated vehicle, taking on driving responsibilities and earning the trust of the driver to make their life on the road easier and safer. However, the driver must be prepared to reassume control at all times.
In a sense, the “training wheels” are still on, but the car is able to actually allow the driver to be hands free as long as he or she is available to take back control at any time.
Once the vehicle has mastered conditional and highly automated driving, it will be able to:
At this stage, the car can park, navigate and drive on its own in many situations, as long as the driver is prepared to reassume control at all times. This is the last step before the vehicle becomes fully independent and automated.
Conditional and highly automated driving is an evolutionary next step from partially automated driving. This is where the car really has to prove its abilities in certain situations... because the driver isn't always watching.
At this point, the car must know exactly where it is — not only what road it's on and the direction of travel, but which lane and where within that lane it's positioned. GPS is no longer enough.
High definition (HD) maps are a key enabler to achieving highly automated driving. It is imperative that HD maps precisely locate where the vehicle is, as accurately as possible. HD maps are capable of locating a vehicle's position within 10 centimeters, whereas normal maps are within a meter.
Although the vehicle's automated skill set has now matured to a point where it can completely take over driving responsibility in many situations, it still needs to know precisely when the situation calls for a human driver — and how to bring that driver back in the loop.
The car can now maneuver itself on the highway while the driver isn't watching. The driver can attend to other tasks, while being prepared to take over quickly if necessary. If the driver is unable to do so, the car pulls over and stops itself. The car navigates and makes its own decisions in order to get through traffic using sensors that provide a detailed picture of the vehicle's surroundings in addition to a computer that analyzes and predicts the behavior of other drivers and then makes decisions about the vehicle's strategy.
Automated valet parking
The automated valet parking (AVP) function enables the vehicle to park itself, thereby relieving the driver of the stress and frustration of searching for a parking spot – and saving time. The driver simply drops the vehicle off at the entrance of a parking garage, then, using a smartphone app, he or she instructs the car to find itself a place to park. Later, the driver instructs the car to return to the drop-off point in exactly the same way.