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Buyer Beware: Weaponized SAE Levels Are Here

SAE levels open the door for carmakers and lobbyists to redefine disparate versions of “autonomy.”
Mercedes-Benz Level 3 Drive Pilot Certified in Nevada
Mercedes-Benz Level 3 Drive Pilot Certified in Nevada (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

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By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
2023 is turning into the year of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Forsaking the futile race to full autonomy, automakers have resorted to testing how much more automation technology they can cram into vehicles while charging more, promising software upgrades and selling consumers the claim that they’ve just bought a safer car.

There’s a catch. While car companies promise drivers more “freedom and convenience” — via eyes-off, hands-off features — they are finding ways to shirk responsibility when highly automated vehicles crash. 

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