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SAE International updates J3016 standard defining autonomous vehicles; free download

SAE International (SAE) announced a free update to its technical standard, “J3016: Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to On-Road Motor Vehicle Automated Driving Systems.” Recently, the US Department of Transportation (DoT) adopted SAE International’s six levels of automation outlined in SAE J3016 for use in its “Federal Automated Vehicles Policy.” (Earlier post.)

Because of the global importance and impact of the standard, SAE now will offer the J3016 standard free-of-charge on the SAE website. John Tintinalli, Product Group Director for SAE International said recent news served as a catalyst for the decision.

J3016 provides and defines the six levels of driving automation, from no automation to full automation. Consistent with industry practices, the standard helps to eliminate confusion by providing clarity.

The new revisions, while substantial, preserve the original SAE J3016 level names, numbers, and functional distinctions, as well as the supporting terms. However, the new, revised version:

  • Clarifies and rationalizes taxonomical differentiators for lower levels (levels 0-2)

  • Clarifies the scope of the J3016 driving automation taxonomy (i.e., explains to what it does and does not apply)

  • Modifies existing, and adds new, supporting terms and definitions

  • Adds more rationale, examples, and explanatory text throughout


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