What’s the difference between autonomous, automated, connected, and cooperative driving?
- The concepts aren’t limited to cars and trucks. They apply to aviation (planes and drones), rail, maritime (above and below), agriculture, etc.
- An autonomous vehicle can drive itself to a destination without human intervention in some operating environments. This “autopilot” operation relies on sensors and technologies but might be limited to specific external conditions such as along designated freeway segments in good weather conditions. These vehicles make their own decisions independently of the driver but could require human intervention and operation outside those environments.
- An automated vehicle is one that has independent operation for some driving tasks such as adaptive cruise control, automatic breaking, and automatic high beam light adjustment. Many vehicles are being sold with these features today. These vehicles do not have the intelligence or the integration of automated features to drive independently without human assistance with the driving task.
- A connected vehicle sends and receives electronic information with other systems outside the vehicle. These systems could be cars, buses, trucks, trains, roads, traffic signals, and other infrastructure. By connecting vehicles and any other connected devices, they can receive alerts about dangerous situations, traffic delays, and other conditions along their driving path.
- Cooperative driving is when several vehicles exchange information and use automated technologies to adapt to their surrounding environment to achieve a set of goals. Those goals could be to drive with minimal stops and delays, to reduce fuel and energy consumption, or to minimize environmental impact.