The technology of autonomous vehicles is expected to revolutionize the operation of road transport systems. The penetration rate of autonomous vehicles will be low at the early stage of their deployment. It is a challenge to explore the effects of autonomous vehicles and their penetration on heterogeneous traffic flowdynamics. This paper aims to investigate this issue. An improved cellular automaton was employed as themodeling platformfor our study. In particular, two sets of rules for lane changing were designed to address mild and aggressive lane changing behavior.With extensive simulation studies, we obtained some promising results. First, the introduction of autonomous vehicles to road traffic could considerably improve traffic flow, particularly the road capacity and free-flow speed. And the level of improvement increases with the penetration rate. Second, the lane-changing frequency between neighboring lanes evolves with traffic density along a fundamental-diagram-like curve. Third, the impacts of autonomous vehicles on the collective traffic flow characteristics are mainly related to their smart maneuvers in lane changing and car following, and it seems that the car-following impact is more pronounced.