Many U.S. Drivers Treat Partially Automated Cars As Self-Driving – Study
Last Updated on: 11th October 2022, 04:40 pm
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as Tesla Autopilot and General Motors Super Cruise, are becoming more popular each year. These systems are designed to help drivers by providing assistance in various driving tasks, such as maintaining lane position, braking, and steering.
Despite the benefits of these systems, many drivers treat their ADAS cars as if they are fully self-driving. A new study has found that a majority of U.S. drivers believe that their partially automated car is fully autonomous.
Super Cruise, Nissan/Infiniti ProPILOT Assist, and Tesla Autopilot are partially automated driving systems that allow a driver to remain in control of the car while the system performs some basic driving tasks.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that regular users of these systems said they were more likely to perform non-driving-related activities like eating or texting while using their partial automation systems than while driving unassisted.
This is a serious concern because it means that these systems are not providing the level of safety that they were designed to. Super Cruise, for example, is supposed to keep the driver in control at all times, but the study found that drivers were more likely to perform non-driving-related activities when using Super Cruise than when driving manually. This is because the system is not capable of fully automating the driving process.
When it comes to semi-autonomous driving technology, one of the most popular systems is Super Cruise. IIHS tested 600 active users of the system and found that 53% of them said that they were comfortable treating their vehicles as fully self-driving. 42% of users of Autopilot and 12% of users of ProPILOT Assist said the same.
Super Cruise is a feature that allows drivers to stay in their lane while the car drives itself. Autopilot is a system that allows drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, but the car does most of the work. ProPILOT Assist is a system that uses radar and cameras to help drivers stay in their lane.
The big-picture message here is that the early adopters of these systems still have a poor understanding of the technology’s limits. This is particularly true when it comes to driving in conditions where the car is not familiar with the environment.
In the new study, IIHS researchers found that nearly half of the drivers in the study who had partially automated cars in their Vehicles saw the technology cause a crash. In contrast, just one in 20 drivers who only had traditional manual controls in their cars saw their vehicle cause a crash.
“The early adopters of these systems are still finding out about the technology’s limitations,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “This is a critical time for automakers and regulators to work together to help drivers understand the capabilities and limitations of these systems.”
Since 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened 37 special investigations involving 18 deaths in crashes involving Tesla vehicles and where systems like Autopilot were suspected of use.
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment. Tesla says Autopilot does not make vehicles autonomous and is intended for use with a fully attentive driver who is prepared to take over.
GM, which in August said owners could use Super Cruise on 400,000 miles (643,740 km) of North American roads and plans to offer Super Cruise on 22 models by the end of 2023, did not immediately comment.
However, in a statement, GM said: “We are closely watching the development of Tesla’s Autopilot and will continue to work with the NHTSA as they investigate the use of this technology.”
The NHTSA has said that it is important for drivers to be aware that Autopilot is not a fully autonomous system and that the driver is responsible for the vehicle at all times.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is voicing criticism of current marketing for Super Cruise, Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving feature. In a report released on Wednesday, IIHS said advertisements for Super Cruise focus on hands-free capabilities while Autopilot evokes the name used in passenger airplanes and “implies Tesla’s system is more capable than it really is.”
“A system that is called ‘Super Cruise’ ought to provide driver assistance that replaces the need for hands-on operation, not reinforce the idea that the driver is in charge,” said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer. “Instead, what we found is that the system relies on the driver to keep their hands on the wheel — a requirement that goes against the trend of increasingly automated vehicles.”
In contrast, ProPILOT Assist “suggests that it’s an assistance feature, rather than a replacement for the driver,” Zuby said. “The driver maintains control of the vehicle at all times, and the system only intervenes if the driver fails to respond in a timely manner.”