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SAE Levels of Driving Automation™ Refined for Clarity and International Audience

Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021

Since its initial launch in 2014, SAE J3016™ Recommended Practice: Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Driving Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles, commonly referenced as the SAE Levels of Driving Automation™, has been the industry’s most-cited source for driving automation. With a taxonomy for SAE’s six levels of driving automation, SAE J3016 defines the SAE Levels from Level 0 (no driving automation) to Level 5 (full driving automation) in the context of motor vehicles and their operation on roadways.

In partnership with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the latest version of SAE J3016 is now available for FREE with more clear and concise terminology as well as clarity for an international audience. Through the joint SAE/ISO joint working group, representatives from nine countries collaborated on the updates to create a document that is more consistent for use across the global mobility community.


What’s New?
The new document adds several new terms along with substantial refinement and clarification of some concepts that have been misunderstood by readers of the previous version and restructures the definitions into more logical groupings. Notable changes to this version of the recommended practice include:

  • Further clarity on the differences between SAE Level 3 and SAE Level 4.
  • Additional terms and definitions for two distinct remote support functions: remote assistance and remote driving.  
  • The use of the “Driver Support Systems” name for SAE Level 1 and 2 driving automation systems.
  • Classifications of sustained driving automation and definitions for vehicle types by groups.
  • Defining and clarifying the concept of failure mitigation strategy.

Updated SAE J3016 Visual Chart
To coincide with the latest updates to the recommended practice, the SAE J3016 Levels of Driving Automation graphic has been updated to include new trademark guidance. All taxonomy content from the 2019 version remains unchanged in this latest version. 

The new version of the graphic is available here.