Ford’s self-driving cars will skip over Level 3 — where cars are automated, but human drivers are still expected to take over if need be — to Level 4, where cars are basically fully autonomous except for extreme conditions. (Self-driving cars that would meet the requirements for Level 5 are still theoretical at this point.) The levels are defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers, or SAE.
Automotive News reported that Ford came to that decision after its engineers fell asleep, lulled into a false sense of security with nothing much to do while driving Level 3 cars.
“These are trained engineers who are there to observe what’s happening,” Ford Product Development Chief Raj Nair told the publication. “But it’s human nature that you start trusting the vehicle more and more and that you feel you don’t need to be paying attention.”