Fully autonomous vehicles can drive themselves in virtually all situations without driver intervention. Some limitations, such as use in severe weather, are still to be defined, along with protocols for challenging conditions. Partially autonomous vehicles operate with a high degree of autonomy in select situations, such as driving on highways and changing lanes, but they require user input in all other situations.
The first partially autonomous vehicles have hit the roads already. Once they reach a higher penetration rate, the benefits to society will be remarkable: significantly reduced road accidents and fatalities, and much better fuel economy. For the driver, autonomous features will make commuting easier and free up time in the car for other productive tasks or leisure. A few hurdles still remain, however, for automotive players to clear. They have to manage vast challenges—including societal acceptance, regulatory grey zones, and the need for even higher technical sophistication—to make autonomous vehicles fully viable.
Here are some of the most important trends.See this insight