The impact of autonomous cars. Driverless and automated vehicles could reduce traffic congestion, and the frequency and severity of accidents. (Photo: Shutterstock)

People are naturally afraid of change. When that change comes in the form of potentially relinquishing control over a basic function like driving, fear is accompanied by skepticism. For nearly every technological advancement in history — be it the electrification of homes, automobiles or space flight — reasons have been found why the change involves risk that should not be taken. In the end, however, all of these technological advances have produced benefits that have made us more comfortable, efficient and safe.

The accepted SAE International classification system for automated vehicles contains six levels from 0 (no automation) to 5 (fully autonomous). With the exception of testing environments, there are no vehicles on the road today that exceed Level 2. Level 3 vehicles may hit the road in late 2018.

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