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NHTSA Adopts SAE International Standard Defining Autonomous
Vehicles; SAE Releases New Version for Free - J3016 states and defines six levels of automation in on-road motor vehicles

WARRENDALE, Pa., Oct. 3, 2016 - SAE International (SAE) announces a free update to its ground-breaking technical standard, “J3016: Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to On-Road Motor Vehicle Automated Driving Systems.”

Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) adopted SAE International’s six levels of automation outlined in SAE J3016 for use in its “Federal Automated Vehicles Policy.”

“We are very pleased that NHTSA has recognized the outstanding efforts of the SAE standards committee by adopting SAE definitions of automated vehicle levels into their policy on automated vehicle development,” Jack Pokrzywa, Director of Ground Vehicle Standards for SAE International, said. “The new version of J3016 is fast becoming the global reference defining vehicle automation.”

Because of the global importance and impact of the standard, SAE now will offer the J3016 standard free-of-charge on the SAE website at John Tintinalli, Product Group Director for SAE International said recent news served as a catalyst for the decision. “To facilitate global adoption we are providing J3016 free to everyone the world over. This standard rings in the dawn of the autonomous vehicle age.  Like Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics, J3016 will have a long-lasting impact on our future.”

To download a free copy of “J3016: Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to On-Road Motor Vehicle Automated Driving Systems,” click here.

J3016 provides and defines the six levels of driving automation, from no automation to full automation. Consistent with industry practices, the standard helps to eliminate confusion by providing clarity and is frequently cited and referred to by industry and media.

The new revisions, while substantial, preserve the original SAE J3016 level names, numbers, and functional distinctions, as well as the supporting terms. However, the new, revised version:

  • Clarifies and rationalizes taxonomical differentiators for lower levels (levels 0-2)
  • Clarifies the scope of the J3016 driving automation taxonomy (i.e., explains to what it does and does not apply)
  • Modifies existing, and adds new, supporting terms and definitions
  • Adds more rationale, examples, and explanatory text throughout

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 127,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

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