I just came up with this new system for classifying types of autonomous driving:
This classification scheme is agnostic to driving environments. An autonomous vehicle system can be D2, D3, or D4 on the highway, but D1 everywhere else. A system can be D4 in a geofenced area.
A higher number isn’t necessarily better or more autonomous. A D4 farming vehicle on remote dirt roads probably needs less advanced technological capabilities than a D3 vehicle in a city’s downtown.
A fifth category is D4R: Driving 4 (Remote). This refers to when an otherwise D4 system is monitored by a remote human operator, or when a remote human operator is available to help upon request.
This classification scheme is intended to supplement others like the SAE Levels of Driving Automation, not replace them.
D2: Navigate on Autopilot (with lane change confirmations).
D3: Navigate on Autopilot (with unconfirmed lane changes); a feature complete version of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability product.
D4: Full Self-Driving Capability with the only occupant sleeping in the backseat; Waymo One without safety drivers (D4R); Cruise Anywhere without safety drivers; Nuro grocery delivery (D4R).