Magna launches new MAX4 Level 4 autonomous vehicle platform

Published: August 31, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



A new autonomous vehicle platform promises it “can be integrated into any vehicle without compromise to vehicle design and styling.”

Magna International Inc. announced Wednesday the MAX4 platform, a fully integrated platform that is scalable and customizable across any vehicle. The platform is described as a self-driving sensing and compute service that can bring Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities to vehicles in urban and highway conditions.

The U.S. Federal Autonomous Vehicles Policy sets out the following SAE criteria (paraphrased) for determining automation:

  • SAE Level 0 – human does everything, like current cars
  • SAE Level 1 – some in-car systems can aid the human in the operation of the vehicle
  • SAE Level 2 – the autonomous tech can complete some driving tasks, but human monitoring is needed.
  • SAE Level 3 – the system conducts some driving and monitors some of the environment, but human must be ready as backup
  • SAE Level 4 – the system can conduct driving tasks without any input from humans. However, the system only works under some conditions. This is where the current market is.

Level 5 is when the car can perform all tasks without the need for a human driver.

MAX4uses camera technology combined with RADAR (radio detection and ranging), LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and ultrasonic sensors. The compute platform is customizable for vehicle manufacturers to easily implement it into the in-car systems.

“Crucially, integration of MAX4 retains an automaker’s existing design and styling freedom for their vehicle, including not taking up cargo space in the rear of the vehicle and personal space in the main compartment,” the release pointed out.

“At the heart of this development is a desire to show the market Magna’s breadth of capabilities and an autonomous driving enabling platform with subsystems that do not compromise the interior and exterior of a vehicle,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna’s chief technology officer. “Our focus is on developing production-ready solutions that offer flexibility to integrate and the framework to enable Level 4 technology for when the market is ready.”

Magna says it wants its platform to simplify interactions between human drivers and self-driving technology. The company is one of the early pioneers of autonomous tech and has been making systems since the turn of the century.