US driverless cars expert says Level 5 cars 'long way off'

Paul Hutton

One of the leading researchers into driverless vehicle technology in the US has told our sister website SMART Highways that cars with no steering wheel that can 'go anywhere, anytime are a very long way off'.

Mcity deputy director Carrie Morton was talking on the new Transport Network podcast, which features news and information from SMART Highways and Highways magazines, looking at the highways and transport technology industries.

Mcity, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (pictured), is the world’s first purpose-built test facility dedicated to connected and automated vehicles.

Despite her thoughts on the long-term nature of Level 5 fully automated vehicles, Ms Morton explained that other parts of the technology are happening sooner than you think.

'You’re going to see in the next couple of years isolated pilots of shared, automated Level 4 vehicles,' she said. 

'And the distinction between Level 4 and Level 5 is that Level 4 have to operate in a very specific operating domain, in a known area – it can only go certain places. You’re going to see that really soon. All the while the personally-owned vehicles you and I drive are going to have increasing levels of automation keeping us safer on the roads.'

You can hear Ms Morton’s full interview, as well as one about a driverless project in the UK, on the Talking Transport podcast, coming soon.

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