AI is gradually taking over more and more of the driver's functions of the driving, and the driver's role is becoming less and less important. The international standardisation agency, SAE, has defined five degrees of autonomy for vehicles:
Level 0: Automatic systems provide alerts but with no degree of vehicle control.
Level 1: ("Hands on"): The driver and automatic systems share control of the car. Examples include Adaptive Cruise Control, where the driver controls the steering and the car controls the speed, the parking assist, where the vehicle controls the turning of the steering wheel and the driver controls the speed. The driver must be ready at all times to take control of all functions.
Level 2: ("Hands off"): The automated system can take full control of the driving functions - throttle, brake and steering. The driver must be in control of the driving and ready to intervene immediately if systems fail.
Level 3: ("Eyes off"): The driver can safely distract from driving. The vehicle will respond to situations that require immediate action, such as emergency braking. Nevertheless, the driver must be prepared to intervene within a specified time, specified by the vehicle manufacturer, when the vehicle so notifies.
Level 4: ("Mind off"): This is like Level 3, except that the driver's readiness is not a requirement. I.e., the driver can sleep or leave the driver's seat. Such autonomous driving can only take place within defined areas/geographical boundaries, or in special situations such as congestion and traffic jams. Outside of these areas or situations, the vehicle must be able to stop driving and park safely if the driver does not take control.
Level 5: ("Wheel optional"): The steering wheel may be redundant. No human intervention required. Example: A robotic taxi.