Most modern vehicles now have some form of partial automation, while a growing number now offer advanced systems such as adaptive cruise control, and self-parking capabilities becoming increasingly common.
The term ‘driverless’ refers to all vehicles which have higher levels of automation, beginning at the point where a driver may not need their hands on the steering wheel, but is ready to take over control, right through to where a vehicle doesn’t need a driver and may not even have a steering wheel.
As technology evolves, driverless cars will continue to use a variety of technologies to monitor their surroundings, such as radar, laser light, GPS, odometry, and computer vision.
Advanced control systems will be able to interpret sensory information to identify the most appropriate navigation path, as well as detect obstacles and relevant signage.
There are five distinct levels on the journey towards fully driverless vehicles, ranging from no automated technology right through to vehicles that can operate without anyone, and may not even have a steering wheel.