SAE unveils new consumer-focused graphic for automated-driving standard

SAE International has unveiled a revised J3016 Levels of Driving Automation graphic aimed at making the widely referenced standard more consumer friendly.
SAE International unveiled a revised Levels of Driving Automation graphic on July 30, aimed at making the widely referenced J3016 standard more consumer friendly. The new graphic was shown by SAE Chief Product Officer Frank Menchaca during a presentation at the 2018 CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan.
The SAE J3016 standard is intended to be a dynamic “living” document that can be updated to reflect the evolving technologies, regulations and functionality related to automated and self-driving vehicles.


The latest version (above, and in the image gallery) features simpler, easier-to-understand language, along with clearer groupings of the different safety and automated-driving functions in each of the six levels. Using dots to portray the grouped functions makes them easier to comprehend than the previous bar chart that described the levels in binary or scientific terms.
This new approach will help better educate consumers as well as vehicle salespeople about SAE Levels 0 (fully human vehicle control) through Level 5 (fully robotic/autonomous operation), according to Jack Pokrzywa, SAE International’s ground vehicle standards director.
First published in 2014, SAE J3016—Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to On-Road Motor Vehicle Automated Driving Systems—was updated in 2016 to include the bar graph describing the six SAE automated driving levels. That graphic drew some criticism for “being written by engineers for engineers,” thus potentially lacking clarity and being difficult to understand for vehicle shoppers.
“We will, at some point, be dealing with a consumer, and how do we explain to them what this means in terms of dollars spent?” Pokrzywa posed. “Would a customer spend money to have Level 3 automation, or full Level 5 automation?”
Responding to the industry and public inputs, SAE assembled a committee of experts in autonomous vehicle technology and development to address the next J3016 revision. Development of the new graphic began in early 2018. The experts decided it was important to invite public feedback. SAE organized focus groups with consumers to get their impressions of the graphic iterations.
“They were looking at it and kind of giving us a thumbs-up or thumbs-down—meaning they either did or did not understand what was in that graphic,” Pokrzywa said.
From the feedback, the team further tweaked the graphic and the latest version was born. It makes SAE J3016 more relevant and easier to understand for consumers—a benefit to the mobility industry as self-driving technology progresses. Continue reading »