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Watch BMW briefly explain the five levels of autonomous driving

Wonder no more what it means when BMW says it wants to get to Level 4.

2017 BMW 530i
Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

You've probably heard me talk about SAE levels when referring to autonomous cars. Now, thanks to a new video from BMW, you can get an idea what each level means.

Since not everybody is familiar with the various standards put in place by the Society for Automotive Engineers, BMW released an educational video offering a quick walkthrough of each of the five SAE autonomous driving levels.

Each level represents an additional step where the system takes charge. Levels 3 through 5 are the current goals for most automakers, with systems that rely largely on the machines to do the brunt of the work. Most cars featuring "semiautonomous" systems in 2017 sport some degree of Level 2, including new Bimmers like the 2017 5 Series.

If you prefer to read, you can always look at SAE's PDF, which discusses the major differences in each level of autonomous driving by discussing who is in charge of various systems, whether it's a human or the car itself. Now, when I say "SAE Level 4" in a story, you might not have to refer to the PDF to remember what I'm going on about.