VELIZY, France -- PSA Group says it is committed to developing Level 3 autonomous driving, which allows hands-off capability but requires the driver to take back control at any time, even as some automakers say they will move directly to Levels 4 and 5, which give the car full autonomy.
The handoff time from vehicle to driver has emerged as a central issue in Level 3, because automakers will have to meet International Organization for Standardization guidelines that require proof that the likelihood of a technical failure is no greater than one in a million. Ford and Volvo have said they will not offer Level 3 vehicles.
PSA tested a self-driving car in different conditions to see if the driver is able to take back control, even if he or she has moved the seat. The company is satisfied with the results, said Cedric Vivien, the automaker's director of innovation for autonomous and connected cars.
PSA will continue with plans for Level 3 features "for development, and also to learn from our customers to improve the systems in the future," Vivien said. He was speaking on the sidelines of a press event here on June 23 highlighting the company's autonomous technology.
At the event, PSA formally released its strategy for introducing autonomous driving, which the company calls Autonomous Vehicle for All, starting with Level 1, or "hands on" features including adaptive cruise control and lane positioning. Level 1 autonomy features, defined as "driver assistance," by the engineer's group SAE International, include adaptive cruise control, active braking and lane-keeping assistance. They are available on models including the Peugeot 208 and 308 hatchbacks, and 2008 and 3008 crossovers.
Level 2, or "hands off," will be offered after 2018, first on the DS 7 Crossback, then shortly afterward on other DS cars, as well as Peugeot and Citroen models. Level 2 automation will include automated parking and Connected Pilot, which monitors the car's position within its lane and relative to other vehicles.
Level 3 "hands off" features will appear in 2020 on the assumption that regulations are changed to allow that to happen. PSA would first allow what it calls "chauffeur" autonomy in traffic-jam situations, followed by highway autonomy in which the car drives in autonomous mode whatever the traffic conditions.
That will be followed after 2025 by Level 4 ("mind off") and Level 5 ("driverless") autonomy.