Operational Design Domain (ODD)

The specific situations in which vehicle systems are designed to properly operate, taking into account the following constraints:

  • Roadway types
  • Geographic area
  • Speed range
  • Environmental conditions (weather, daytime/nighttime, etc)
  • Network connection requirements  


Dedicated Short-Range Communications DSRC


Dedicated short-range communications are one-way or two-way short-range to medium-range wireless communication channels specifically designed for automotive use and a corresponding set of protocols and standards.


Applications of DSRC include:

  • Road Use Measurament
  • Emergency warning system for vehicles
  • Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Cooperative Forward Collision Warning
  • Intersection collision avoidance
  • Approaching emergency vehicle warning (Blue Waves)
  • Vehicle safety inspection
  • Transit or emergency vehicle signal priority
  • Electronic parking payments
  • Commercial vehicle clearance and safety inspections
  • In-vehicle signing
  • Rollover warning
  • Probe data collection
  • Highway-rail intersection warning
  • Electronic toll collection

Other short-range wireless protocols are IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth and CALM.


SAE Levels of Vehicle Automation

Level Description User Experience
1 Vehicles have a single driver assistance feature such as cruise control. The driver must remain attentive and in control of the vehicle at all times.
2 Vehicles that contain a combination of two or more advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

In order for the vehicle to safely carry out some of the driving tasks, sensor suites are required that are similar to that which is needed for Level 3 and Level 4 driving. Examples of Level 2 vehicles on the road include the current Tesla Autopilot system.

3 Vehicles that are capable of taking full responsibility for the driving task on specific parts of a journey. Drivers must remain ready to resume control of the vehicle at all times with limited advanced notice.
4 Vehicles that are capable of driving for an entire journey within a predefined ODD without a driver onboard.
Numerous low-speed, Level 4 “Driverless Shuttle” demonstrations have taken place around the world, including the Navya-Transdev operation at the EDF power plant.
Drivers (or operators) must remain ready to resume control of the vehicle at all times with some advanced notice.
5 Vehicles that do not require operational limits like the Level 4 vehicles, and will be able to drive anywhere at anytime as human drivers would.

There are no commercially viable Level 5 systems, and most experts believe we are quite far (10+ years) from their deployment.

Drivers will not have to worry about assuming control of a vehicle (and in some cases may not be allowed to).


Common Vehicle Classifications With Definitions:

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and parallel parking assistance systems are all examples of ADAS. These systems are designed to aid in completing the driving task more safely, but they generally do not automate significant portions of the driving function on their own.

Self-driving Vehicles (SDV)

These vehicles are capable of driving itself in a limited ODD. These vehicles have automated parts of the driving task, but do not necessarily operate autonomously. A self-driving vehicle could use artificial intelligence to make its own decisions – stopping in response to a pedestrian in the walkway- but does not locally operate on the data needed to make more high level decisions in rapid succession.


Depending on the vehicle’s ODD, SDVs could be classified as either Level 3 or Level 4 automation.

Highly Automated Vehicle (HAV)

HAVs are self-driving cars that assume the primary responsibility for monitoring the driving environment (SAE Level 3 and above).


These vehicle systems are capable of making complex decisions that were not pre-programmed. A self-driving car could have a brain, but an autonomous car definitely has a brain and makes its own decisions in such a way that passengers typically don’t have to be monitoring road conditions at all times.


Depending on the ODD of an HAV system, there may be one or more subsystems that guide the vehicle at any given point in time.

Domain-Limited Driverless Shuttle (DLDS)

As the name suggests, these vehicles are designed to operate in a fully automated (Level 4) manner within a designated ODD. To achieve commercial viability, these vehicle systems are generally operated under fixed routes without a driver and monitored remotely.


By limiting the requirements of the system these vehicles can also generally strip out unnecessary components of street-legal HAVs & HDVs that increase cost: airbags, seat belts, steel frames, etc.


DLDS are available for purchase today and are currently in operation under small-scale pilots.

Human-machine interface (HMI)

Components that deliver information and build trust between passenger and vehicle. HMI will incorporate technologies ranging from visual displays to interactions from voice and other sensors that complement the user experience.

Vehicle to Everything (V2X)

Passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa. It is a vehicular communication system that incorporates other more specific types of communication as V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure), V2V (Vehicle-to-vehicle), V2P (Vehicle-to-Pedestrian), V2D (Vehicle-to-device) and V2G (Vehicle-to-grid).


Electronic Control Unit: (ECU)

A generic term for any embedded system that controls one or more of the electrical system or subsystems in a transport vehicle.


Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

This term is loosely used to describe a number of different positions in the product development lifecycle:


In the automotive world, OEM refers to a company that makes a part or subsystem that is used in another company’s end product. For example, if Acme Manufacturing Co. makes power cords that are used on IBM computers, Acme is an OEM.


Confusingly, it sometimes means the maker of a system that includes other companies’ subsystems, an end-product producer, or an automotive part that is manufactured by the same company that produced the original part used in the automobile’s assembly.


In the context of these writings, we’ll clearly indicate the part or subsystem that the OEM label refers to. For example, if Delphi is manufacturing sensors for HAV systems used in Ford cars, Delphi would be the sensor OEM and Ford would be the Auto OEM.

HAV Software Terms:

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM)  

In robotic mapping, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is the computational problem of constructing or updating a map of an unknown environment while simultaneously keeping track of an agent’s location within it.

Detection and Tracking of Moving Objects (DATMO)

The computational challenge of combining input from multiple sensors and a known map of the world to locate, classify, and project paths of objects. HAV systems have seen significant performance when DATMO is implemented alongside SLAM techniques.