Even with a global pandemic raging, automakers are still trying to figure out automated driving. Karma Automotive took a big step forward, announcing its new E-Flex Van achieves an SAE Level 4 autonomy. That’s a big deal.
SAE Level 4 autonomy means when the driverless system is engaged, you, the human, aren’t driving at all. That means no steering, pedal, or turn signal inputs from you. What’s more, while the system is engaged you don’t need to take over driving, something that’s not the case with Tesla’s Autopilot, Cadillac Super Cruise, etc.
Before you get too carried away, this van cannot just drive anywhere without humans doing anything. The Karma E-Flex Van can drive without help from a human only under limited conditions. If those conditions aren’t met, a human will indeed have to drive it.
To achieve this feat, which is impressive even if limited, the vehicle is loaded up with all kinds of sensors as well as a high-performance artificial intelligence running an array of deep neural networks.
For now, this tech will be used in limited regions of metropolitan areas, possibly transporting cargo and/or people to specific locations. Karma isn’t giving many details, so you’ll have to use your imagination in the meantime.