Thursday, 12 May 2022 09:23

Consumer Skepticism Toward Autonomous Driving Features Justified


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In AAA’s latest survey of attitudes about automated vehicles, drivers overwhelmingly want automakers to improve the performance of existing driver support features rather than develop self-driving cars.

This desire is backed by another round of AAA testing that reveals inconsistent performance remains a problem with available driving assistance systems, resulting in crashes with a car and a bicyclist. The failures occurred regardless of vehicle make and model.


It is the third time AAA has studied these systems’ performance. AAA urges automakers to listen to consumers and improve what is currently available before focusing on future technology.


“You can’t sell consumers on the future if they don’t trust the present,” said Greg Brannon, director of AAA’s automotive engineering. “And drivers tell us they expect their current driving assistance technology to perform safely all the time. But unfortunately, our testing demonstrates spotty performance is the norm rather than the exception.”


Consumers surveyed told AAA they are more interested in improved vehicle safety systems (77%) versus self-driving cars (18%). But new testing, the third round by AAA’s Automotive Engineering team in the last few years, found vehicles with an active driving assistance system---also known as Level 2 systems as defined by SAE---failed to consistently avoid crashes with another car or bicycle during 15 test runs. 


A foam car similar to a small hatchback and a bicyclist dummy was used for this testing.


A head-on collision occurred during all 15 test runs for an oncoming vehicle within the travel lane. Only one test vehicle significantly reduced speed before a crash on each run.


For a slow lead vehicle moving in the same direction in the lane ahead, no collisions occurred among 15 test runs.


For a cyclist crossing the travel lane of the test vehicle, a collision occurred...

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