This article also appears in
Subscribe now »
Kimmel/SAE International

New Cooperative Driving Automation standard provides clarity to support advancement of full automation

SAE International's newly published SAE J3216 Standard focuses on Cooperative Driving Automation for on-road motor vehicles.

In May, amid quarantine and lockdowns for the Coronavirus pandemic, SAE International published SAE J3216 Standard: Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Cooperative Driving Automation for On-Road Motor Vehicles. The new standard provides clarity to support advancement of full automation.

SAE J3216 builds on 2016’s SAE J3016 that defines six levels of driving automation, from SAE Level Zero (no automation) to SAE Level 5 (full vehicle autonomy). While J3016 aims to provide clarity and offer a foundation for advancing vehicle automation technologies, the newly-published J3216 does so with terms, definitions and taxonomy focused on Cooperative Driving Automation (CDA), a key building block that supports all levels of automation.

"CDA sits at the intersection of two important transportation technologies: automation and connectivity," said Shawn Kimmel, vice-chair of the SAE International On-Road Automated Driving (ORAD) Committee and the document sponsor. It helps enable benefits, such as cooperative intersection and traffic management applications that reduce travel times and/or improve road operations by coordinating the movement of multiple vehicles in proximity. “The development of a common language helps enable discussions between automobile manufacturers, technology companies and infrastructure stakeholders to work together to achieve industry goals,” he noted.

J3216 describes machine-to-machine (M2M) communication to enable cooperation between vehicles with driving automation features engaged, other road users and infrastructure such as traffic signals and work zones. The cooperation supports or enables performance of the Dynamic Driving Task (DDT). It is defined as four classes, A through D, based on increasing amount of cooperation entailed in each successive class:

  • Status-sharing,
  • Intent-sharing,
  • Agreement-seeking, and
  • Prescriptive

Ultimately, cooperation among multiple participants and perspectives in traffic help improve safety, mobility, situational awareness and operations. “As an industry convener, SAE is uniquely positioned to bring together industry and infrastructure to create an agreed-upon language through which CDA can safely evolve,” said Keith Wilson, technical program manager at SAE International. As the need for CDA increases with the realization of all levels of automation, the J3216 standard has considerable potential impacts on traffic, operations, and safety for automated mobility.

The J3216 document focuses on application-oriented functionality. It does not imply the need for or require any specific functionality associated with communications protocols or the open systems interconnection model layers in a protocol stack. It addresses the operational and tactical timescales of dynamic driving on ADS-operated vehicles, and excludes strategic functions such as trip scheduling and selection of destinations and waypoints.

This information report is intended to facilitate communication and awareness for the design, development and validation of cooperative driving automation. J3216’s publication was accomplished in under one year. “That’s a land-speed record for standards development!” Kimmel said in an article he published on LinkedIn. As technology moves quicker, standards development will need to keep up. J3216 demonstrates how SAE’s accelerated standards development process and partnerships with U.S. DoT are helping the standards sector evolve, Kimmel shared.

Continue reading »