Autonomous Vehicle Vocabulary
ADS-Dedicated Vehicle (ADS-DV)
A vehicle equipped with an automated driving system (ADS) and designed for driverless operation under routine/normal operating conditions during all trips within its given Operational Design Domain (if any)
Operates without human oversight or intervention; see also: Autonomous
A vehicle that is able to carry out the driving task without human intervention in specified conditions.
A vehicle that can sense its environment and make decisions in real-time that does not require human intervention at any point during operation.
Automated driving system (ADS)
The hardware and software that are collectively capable of performing the entire Dynamic Driving Task on a sustained basis, regardless of whether it is limited to a specific Operational Design Domain (ODD); this term is used specifically to describe a Level 3, 4, or 5 driving automation system
A vehicle equipped with an Automated Driving System (ADS).
Operates without human oversight or intervention; see also: Automated
A capability or function that provides autonomous operation
The practice of making unverified or misleading claims which misrepresent the appropriate level of human supervision required by a partially or semi-autonomous product, service or technology; making something appear to be more autonomous than it really is*
*Term coined by: https://lizadixon.com/Autonowashing
Basic Safety Message (BSM)
Data transmitted via DSRC per SAE J2735 containing a vehicles size, position, heading, speed, braking status, and acceleration at 10 times per second in a range of 1,000 meters
Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV)
The category of autonomous or self-driving vehicles that can communicate with other vehicles and/or infrastructure via radio frequency
A vehicle equipped with radio communication technology (i.e. 4G/5G, DSRC, Wi-Fi) able to relay data between itself and other vehicles, infrastructure, and people
A vehicle designed to be operated by an in-vehicle driver during all or part of every trip
Cooperative driving automation (CDA)
Automation that uses M2M communication to enable cooperation among two or more entities with capable communications technology and is intended to facilitate the safer, more efficient movement of road users, including enhancing performance of the Dynamic Driving Task for a vehicle with driving automation feature(s) engaged
Dedicated Short Range Communication
Short- and medium-wave radio communication, reserved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), across the 5.9 GHz band for delivering Basic Safety Messages (BSM) between vehicles, infrastructure, and people
On-road operation of an Automated Driving System (ADS) equipped vehicle that is unoccupied, or in which on-board users are not drivers or in-vehicle fallback-ready users
Driving automation system
The hardware and software that are collectively capable of performing part or all of the Dynamic Driving Task on a sustained basis; this term is used generically to describe any system capable of Level 1-5 driving automation
Driving policy (3.3)
Strategy and rules defining a vehicle’s high-level control actions
An Automated Driving System (ADS) equipped vehicle designed to enable either driverless operation under routine/normal operating conditions within its given Operational Design Domain (ODD) (if any), or operation by an in-vehicle driver, for complete trips
Dynamic Driving Task
Includes the operational (steering, braking, accelerating, monitoring the vehicle and roadway) and tactical (responding to events, determining when to change lanes, turn, use signals, etc.) aspects of the driving task, but not the strategic (determining destinations and waypoints) aspect of the driving task.
The vehicle equipped with the Automated Driving System (ADS) of interest
The impartial provision of access to a good or service across all levels of ability
Characteristic of a system whereby any malfunction affecting the system safety will cause the system to revert to a state that is known to be within acceptable risk parameters. (FAA System Safety Handbook)
Fallback (Minimal Risk Condition)
The state a vehicle should enter if it encounters a domain outside of its operational design.
First Mile/Last Mile
The nominal distance of travel from one’s starting point to mass transit and from mass transit to end-point
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Satellite navigation system that can provide a receiver’s coordinates within 5 meters accuracy via radio communication. Used for localization.
Potential source of harm caused by malfunctioning behavior of the item. (ISO 26262)
Highly Automated Vehicle (HAV)
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) term for Level 3 or above automated vehicles that can take full control of the driving task in at least some driving conditions
Human Machine Interface (HMI)
Any sensory interface the system and user communicate through (e.g. visual, auditory, haptic)
Intelligent Transportation System
The use of various technologies to manage traffic and keep road-users informed and safe
LIDAR – Light Detection and Ranging
A sensor that emits laser beams to measure its distance to physical objects and record its physical environment. Used for localization and object detection.
Micromobility / micromobbin
Transportation over short distances provided by lightweight, usually single-person vehicles such as bicycles and scooters
Neighborhood Electric Vehicle
Battery electric passenger vehicles with a top speed of 25 mph
Non-motorist / non-motorized conveyance
A person is being transported by a non-motorized conveyance, other than a pedaled cycle; a human-powered device by which a non-motorist may move or may move another non-motorist; a non-motorized method of transport or conveyance that is not a pedaled cycle.
Examples: Baby carriages, coasters, wagons, ice skates, roller skates, push carts, push scooters, skateboards, skis, sleds, non-motorized wheelchairs, rickshaws, etc.
Object and Event Detection and Response (OEDR)
Refers to the detection by the driver or ADS of any circumstance that is relevant to the immediate driving task, as well as the implementation of the appropriate driver or system response to such circumstance.
Operational Design Domain (ODD)
A description of the specific environments and contexts in which an automated vehicle was designed to operate (e.g. roadway type, geographic area, speed range, environmental conditions, other domain constraints).
Optical (Stereo) Camera
A digital camera used to detect and measure objects, color, and depth. Used for object detection.
An intermediate product/service deployment phase used to validate assumptions, garner stakeholder approval, and make improvements before full-scale deployment
The operation and synchronized acceleration/braking of (usually) freight vehicles in tight clusters or groups at highway speed to increase efficiency
One- to four-passenger shared-use, automated vehicle
RADAR – Radio Detection and Ranging
A sensor that emits radio waves to measure its distance to physical objects. Used for object detection.
The combination of the probability of occurrence of harm and the severity of that harm. (ISO 26262)
A driver who is not seated in a position to manually exercise in-vehicle braking, accelerating, steering, and transmission gear selection input devices (if any), but is able to operate the vehicle.
Remote fallback test driver (RFTD)
A fallback test driver of a prototype Automated Driving System (ADS) operated vehicle in driverless operation, who, from a location remote to the vehicle, is capable of safely responding to unexpected ADS and vehicle behaviors in a variety of operating situations, including hazardous ones, using wireless means.
Remote fallback-ready user
A fallback-ready user of a Level 3 Automated Driving System (ADS) equipped vehicle in driverless operation who is not in the driver’s seat
SAE Level 0 – no driving automation
The performance by the driver of the entire Dynamic Driving Task, even when enhanced by active safety systems
SAE Level 1 – driver assistance
The sustained and Operational Design Domain (ODD) specific execution by a driving automation system of either the lateral or the longitudinal vehicle motion control subtask of the Dynamic Driving Task (DDT) (but not both simultaneously) with the expectation that the driver performs the remainder of the DDT
SAE Level 2 – partial driving automation
The sustained and Operational Design Domain (ODD) specific execution by a driving automation system of both the lateral and longitudinal vehicle motion control subtasks of the Dynamic Driving Task with the expectation that the driver completes the Object and Event Detection and Response subtask and supervises the driving automation systemstem
SAE Level 3 – conditional driving automation
The sustained and Operational Design Domain (ODD) specific performance by an Automated Driving System (ADS) of the entire Dynamic Driving Task (DDT) under routine/normal operation (see 3.27) with the expectation that the DDT fallback-ready user is receptive to ADS-issued requests to intervene, as well as to DDT performance-relevant system failures in other vehicle systems, and will respond appropriately
SAE Level 4 – high driving automation
The sustained and Operational Design Domain (ODD) specific performance by an Automated Driving System (ADS) of the entire Dynamic Driving Task (DDT) and DDT fallback, without any expectation that a user will respond to a request to intervene.
SAE Level 5 – full driving automation
TheThe sustained and unconditional (i.e., not Operational Design Domain (ODD) specific) performance by an Automated Driving System (ADS) of the entire Dynamic Driving Task (DDT) and DDT fallback without any expectation that a user will respond to a request to intervene.
SAE Levels of driving automation (3.14)
Mutually exclusive set of driving automation levels, ranging from Level 0 (no automation) to Level 5 (full automation), defining the roles of the driver or user and automation system in relation to each other
Note 1 to entry: See Table 2 (graphic below)
Note 2 to entry: This is a definition from . In this document, the wording of the definition from  is adjusted to provide an ISO conformant text with the same intent.
|Level||Name||Lateral and longitudinal vehicle motion control||OEDR||DDT Fallback||ODD|
|0||No driving automation||System||Driver||Driver||Not Available|
|1||Driver assistance||Driver and System||Driver||Driver||Limited|
|2||Partial driving automation||System||Driver||Driver||Limited|
|3||Conditional driving automation||System||System||Fallback ready user||Limited|
|4||High driving automation||System||System||System||Limited|
|5||Full driving automation||System||System||System||Unlimited|
Absence of unreasonable risk (1.136). (ISO 26262)
A structured argument, supported by a body of evidence, that provides a compelling, comprehensible and valid case that a system is safe for a given application in a given environment.
Source: Defence Standard 00-56 Issue 7 (Part 1): Safety Management Requirements for Defence Systems. UK Ministry of Defence. p. 26.
Safety Performance Indicator (SPI)
A metric used to quantify safety performance.
Source – UL4600
The process of combining data collected from an array of sensors for analysis to interpret a given environment and make decisions based on the interpretation
Shared Autonomous Vehicle (SAV), Self-Driving Shuttle, Low-Speed Automated Shuttle (USDOT, FTA)
Current classification describes a Level 3 or above (NHTSA), eight- to 16-passenger, low- to medium-speed automated shuttle bus without traditional human controls or seating positions
Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV)
A vehicle occupied by one rider during a given trip
A person(s) in a test vehicle during on-road testing who has no role in supervising the Automated Driving System (ADS), or operating the vehicle in a fallback capacity, but who may provide test support functions
A sensor that emits sounds waves to measure its distance to physical objects. Used for object detection
A machine designed to provide conveyance on public streets, roads, and highways
Vehicle operating state
Operating mode in combination with the situation
Example: Highly automated driving (operating mode) during highway driving (situation)
Vehicle to Everything (V2X)
A term used to describe one- or two-way wireless communication between vehicles and any other connected device (I.e. vehicles, cellular phones, traffic lights, cloud, etc.)
Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I)
A term used to describe one- or two-way wireless communication between vehicles and infrastructure (i.e. roadside units, traffic lights, stop signs, etc.)
Vehicle to Person (V2P)
A term used to describe one- or two-way wireless communication between vehicles and a person’s connected device (I.e. cellular phone, smart watch, smart glasses, etc.)
Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V)
A term used to describe one- or two-way wireless communication between vehicles
Zero Occupancy Vehicle (ZOV – Zombie Vehicle)
An autonomous or self-driving vehicle in operation carrying no passengers