Fully autonomous cars and trucks that drive us instead of us driving them are becoming a reality. These self-driving vehicles ultimately will integrate onto U.S. roadways by progressing through six levels of driver assistance technology advancements in the coming years. This includes everything from no automation (where a fully engaged driver is required at all times), to full autonomy (where an automated vehicle operates independently, without a human driver), as shown in the graphic below.
You can read more about automated vehicles and the associated safety benefits for all users at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Florida Automated Vehicles (FAV) program is leading the State's efforts to develop research and pilot projects and create awareness of the technologies that will reduce traffic congestion and improve safety. Check their Florida Automated Vehicles website to follow the development of the Florida-specific initiative and the progression of automated vehicle technology nationwide: www.AutomatedFL.com
According to FDOT: Automated vehicle is an umbrella term that also includes connected vehicle technologies. Connected vehicles (CV) employ vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication to provide real-time warnings to a human driver to help them avoid crashes. Additional information can include traffic signal status, traffic congestion and construction warnings, as well as impending severe weather events. Both technologies can improve safety and efficiency of our transportation system in Florida since over 90% of traffic crashes are due to human error. CV technologies can also allow back office systems such as the traffic signal control system to react to real-time information from the vehicle.