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MassDOT is actively developing an Application to Test Highly Automated Vehicles to facilitate the testing of highly automated vehicles (HAVs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in accordance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Federal Automated Vehicles Policy and Massachusetts Executive Order No. 572.

Automated Vehicles - Levels of Automation

As defined by SAE International (a global association of engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries), there are six levels of driving automation which span from no automation to full automation.

  • SAE Level 0: the human driver does everything
  • SAE Level 1: an automated system on the vehicle can sometimes assist the human driver to conduct some parts of the driving task
  • SAE Level 2: an automated system on the vehicle can actually conduct some parts of the driving task, while the human continues to monitor the driving environment and performs the rest of the driving task
  • SAE Level 3: an automated system can both actually conduct some parts of the driving task and monitor the driving environment in some instances but the human driver must be ready to take back control when the automated system requests
  • SAE Level 4: an automated system can conduct the driving task and monitor the driving environment, and the human need not take back control, but the automated system can operate only in certain environments and under certain conditions
  • SAE Level 5: the automated system can perform all driving tasks, under all conditions that a human driver could perform them

Using the SAE levels, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) draws a distinction between Levels 0-2 and 3-5, based on whether the human operator or the automated system is primarily responsible for monitoring the driving environment. MassDOT has adopted the definition of “highly automated vehicle” (HAV), which represents SAE Levels 3-5 vehicles, for which automated systems are responsible for monitoring the driving environment in addition to performing all aspects of the dynamic driving tasks.

Source: SAE International - J3016

Application to Test Automated Vehicles

If you are a manufacturer or other entity wishing to test HAVs in Massachusetts, please refer to the information and process described on the Application to Test Highly Automated Vehicles page.

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