Self-driving cars seem like a promise that is here, almost here, and not coming for years all the same time. Those statements are all true because there are different “levels” of autonomy. Here’s what those levels mean. If it seems like you’ve been told that cars can already self-drive and that cars can’t self-drive, you’ve heard it essentially right both ways. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines six levels of car autonomy. They released this guidance to both push forward and standardize autonomous vehicle testing.