› The ŠKODA VISION E communicates with other road users, vehicles and infrastructure
› Autopilot drives the car autonomously on motorways
› The ŠKODA VISION E keeps the car in lane, takes evasive action and can independently overtake
The ŠKODA VISION E drives autonomously at level 3. This means that it can completely take over steering on motorways, for example. Here, the systems control overtaking and evasive manoeuvres, accelerate and apply the brakes. In dangerous situations, the driver is prompted to take over the steering wheel again within a defined time frame. From level 3, vehicles also communicate automatically with other vehicles. This allows them to inform one another of potential dangers. In addition, the ŠKODA VISION E can already communicate with infrastructure.
With the ŠKODA VISION E concept car, the Czech car manufacturer not only provides an outlook on the fully electric and thereby zero-emission future of mobility but also on the forms of automated and autonomous driving which can be realised very soon. Additional opportunities to relieve the driver are being created based on the assistance systems that are already available in ŠKODA production models today. The technology presented in the ŠKODA VISION E allows further driving tasks to be delegated to the vehicle.
Automated, i.e. autonomous driving is divided into different levels:
Level 1 describes assisted driving. Amongst others, the systems at this level include cruise control, which controls the speed and also the distance to the vehicle in front. At this level, the driver must always have their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention to the traffic. Another example are emergency brake assistance features which take over the braking but leave all other vehicle control tasks to the driver. The systems are often limited in their functionality. Some systems are, for example, only partly operational in adverse weather conditions or only work up to a certain speed.
Level 2 describes semi-autonomous driving. At this level, vehicles can autonomously drive straight on, stay in lane or control the distance to the vehicle ahead autonomously in predefined situations – for example on a motorway. In traffic jams, the vehicle can autonomously take over all of the driving, steering and braking. Here too, adverse weather conditions can lead to restrictions, when dirty sensors hamper the electronics, for example.
Level 3 describes highly-autonomous driving. Level 3 vehicles can, for example, completely take over steering on motorways. Here, the systems control overtaking and evasive manoeuvres, accelerate and apply the brakes. In dangerous situations, the driver is prompted to take over the steering wheel again within a defined time frame. From level 3, vehicles also communicate automatically with other vehicles and exchange information.
Level 4, fully autonomous driving, is expected to be achieved in a couple of years’ time. Most of the time, the vehicle will then move autonomously and master even complex situations on country roads as well as in urban traffic. The drivers can occupy themselves with other things during the journey and does not need to have an eye on the surrounding traffic all the time. The vehicle is then also completely connected with its environment. At level 4, urban traffic is also controlled automatically, for example by switching traffic lights to green when a vehicle approaches junctions and no traffic from side roads is detected. The vehicles communicate with each other and notify each other of a change of lanes for example.
From level 5, vehicles are autonomous from the starting point to the final destination. The occupants do not have to perform any driving tasks. This means that these driverless cars need neither a steering wheel nor pedals.
“The ŠKODA VISION E concept car achieves the requirements for level 3 of autonomous driving. It can operate independently in traffic jams, complete motorway journeys using autopilot, stay in lane or take evasive actions, overtake other vehicles, independently look for free parking spaces and drive in and out of parking spaces autonomously,” said Christian Strube, ŠKODA Board Member for Technical Development. All of this is aided by various sensors with different ranges and various cameras that monitor the traffic situation.
Different levels of communication are also installed and tested. The ŠKODA VISION E is – like many ŠKODA production models today – connected to the driver’s smartphone or other mobile devices and communicates with them. However, car-to-car communication and car-to-infrastructure communication are also possible with the ŠKODA VISION E.