- a study by the american automobile association (aaa) found that driver-assist systems in new vehicles are often unreliable, potentially compromising the safety benefits they offer.
- the association studied five different 2019 and 2020 vehicles and found that the systems on average experienced issues every eight miles.
- aaa concluded that drivers should always remain attentive while using adas system, and that if they have bad experiences now, they may be less willing to accept fully autonomous systems in the future.
driver-assist systems such as lane-keeping assistance are becoming more common in new vehicles. while the features have moved into the mainstream, their reliability has lagged, a study released today by the american automobile association found. the systems in the five vehicles that aaa tested experienced on average one issue—such as the need for the driver to act quickly to keep the vehicle centered in a lane—every eight miles.
the safety benefits of such systems, the study concluded, aren’t reliable. the systems become particularly dangerous when drivers over-rely on the technology and don’t notice when the systems disengage—which they often do with little notice, aaa noted. of all of the errors that the systems made on open-road testing, 73 percent involved instances of lane departure or erratic lane position.
“manufacturers need to work toward more dependable technology, including improving lane keeping assistance and providing more adequate alerts,” greg brannon, director of automotive engineering and industry relations at aaa, said in a statement. “active driving assistance systems are designed to assist the driver and help make the roads safer, but the fact is, these systems are in the early stages of their development.”
the study tested five 2019 and 2020 vehicles equipped with the most advanced technology each automaker had to offer, including a 2019 bmw x7 with “active driving assistant professional,” 2019 cadillac ct6 with “super cruise,” 2019 ford edge with “ford co-pilot360,” 2020 kia telluride with “highway driving assist” and 2020 subaru outback with “eyesight.” all of these systems are regarded as level 2 autonomous systems, meaning the driver is expected to remain aware while the system is in use.
in the study, the cadillac ct6 experienced the fewest number of issues over the roughly 800 miles the vehicles each traveled, followed by the bmw x7, subaru outback, kia telluride, and ford edge. on the closed course portion of the test, the vehicles had difficulty when approaching a simulated disable vehicle, with a collision occurring two-thirds of the time.
“we know human error contributes to 94 percent of all crashes, which is why we are focused on advancing driver assist technologies that can help significantly enhance safety,” wade newton, the vp of communications at the alliance for automotive innovation, told c/d. “however, as we integrate these increasingly advanced driver assistance features into more vehicles, it is critical that drivers fully understand the system’s capabilities and limitations as well as their responsibilities.”
aaa concluded that if drivers have bad experiences with less advanced systems, they may be less willing to accept more fully autonomous vehicles in the future. ultimately, the association said that current adas systems “are not capable of sustained vehicle operation without constant driver supervision; it is imperative the driver maintain situational awareness at all times.”