Technological advancements on the road to automated driving are already showing up today in modern vehicles, which are increasingly equipped with driver assistance systems (DAS). Driver assistance systems represent an electronic system built into the vehicle. It supports the driver in his or her driving tasks by informing, warning and – if designed to do so – actively intervening to regulate driving events. The driver must specifically activate or deactivate the system. But driver assistance systems can also be overridden by the driver at any time. Due to improved detection of their surroundings and situational analysis, these systems are growing ever-more powerful; a high degree of automation is possible in assistance functions. Automated driving functions improve traffic safety and simplify the flow of traffic.
The German automobile industry has come to a unified understanding for the levels of automation in an expert panel. These definitions are oriented towards the results of the BASt working group “Legal consequences of increasing vehicle automation”.
Systems that permit the assisted (supporting lane holding and lane changing) and partially automated (driver-supervised lane holding and lane changing) driving are already available on the market today. In a few years, the fi rst vehicles with appropriate sensors, actuators and information processing to permit the functions of high and full automation for specific application scenarios will be available. In these vehicles, not only the use of automated driving functions but also conventional driving will be supported, since assistance functions based on existing vehicle systems can also take effect outside automated driving mode.