The fab four

Four of the six levels of automation on the road to autonomous driving, as defined by SAE International, with sample applications from Audi. Level 0 stands for conventional humancontrolled driving without a supportive assistance system. Level 1 is defined as assisted driving. While the driver is supported here by the system either during acceleration/braking or steering, the person behind the wheel retains full responsibility for the vehicle and must be ready to intervene at any time.

Angus Frazer (copy) & AUDI AG (photo)

Level 2: Partial Automation

The driver remains responsible for control of the car in all situations, but now, alongside acceleration and deceleration, the car can take over the steering in certain situations. An example of this is the four rings’ traffic jam assist, which can also be found in the latest Audi A4: In slow moving traffic on well-maintained roads, the assistant can take its cue from lane markings, roadside structures and other road users to keep the vehicle in the correct lane up to 65 km/h.

Level 3: Conditional Automation

The all-new Audi A8 is designed for Level 3 conditional automated driving. On multi-lane roads with physical central barriers and where national laws permit, the Audi AI traffic jam pilot* can take control of steering, braking and acceleration at speeds of up to 60 km/h in slow moving traffic. Although drivers no longer have to constantly monitor the system, they must remain vigilant and take control once more when system limits are exceeded.

Level 4: High Automation

Vehicles with high automation require no intervention from the driver, who can hand over full control to the system. These functions are, however, confined to certain areas, such as parking garages and highways. Drivers only resume control when their cars have left the areas reserved for fully automated driving. In 2017, Audi showcased its vision for the future of Level 4 automation—the Elaine concept car.

Level 5: Full Automation

Driverless Level 5 cars will require neither a driver nor controls such as a steering wheel or pedals. The car will pick up passengers from their front door and take them to their destination autonomously. And if you’re traveling in a vehicle modeled on the four rings’ 2017 Aicon concept car, you’ll enjoy a whole new world of freedom—surfing the Net, watching a movie, reading a book or simply relaxing.

“Automated and autonomous driving will fundamentally reshape society, our mobility behavior, our everyday lives. When it comes to both vehicle ownership and mobility services, autonomous offering to our customers will become significantly more impotant over the coming decades. Roborace is a good platform to prepare society for that and to push the technology forward.” Alejandro Vukotich, Vice-President Development Automated Driving, AUDI AG.

Further information on official fuel consumption figures and the official specific CO2 emissions of new passenger cars can be found in the guide “Information on the fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of new cars”, which is available free of charge at all sales dealerships and from DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Hellmuth-Hirth-Strasse 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen, Germany (

*The assistance systems/automated technologies described here are still under development and not available in production vehicles. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot is not yet available as an optional extra. Your Audi partner will be pleased to inform you about the exact date of introduction. In most countries, piloted/automated driving is currently not legally approved for use on public roads. Please also note in general that assistance systems can only support the driver within the specified system limits. Responsibility for remaining sufficiently alert and performing driving tasks rests at all times with the driver.