As driverless car technology progresses, there is considerable misunderstanding about the different flavors of autonomous vehicle technology. When car makers talk about driver assistance systems, they have to address some very different issues than when researchers look towards fully autonomous systems which are capable of completely independent (possibly even off-road) operation. We propose to distinguish the following three different levels of autonomous operation (Assistive, Managed, Independent) and provide an explanation of some of the unique issues that need to be addressed for each of these levels.

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