A study released this week finds many of the near autonomous driving systems remain flawed and dangerous to use. The AAA research revealed that over the course of 4,000 test miles even the most sophisticated “active driving assistance” systems were far from 100 percent reliable. The systems tested experiencing a glitch on average every eight miles.
The systems tested were level 2 systems which are designed to combine automated functions including acceleration, braking and steering. Level 2 systems require the motorist to remain engaged with the general task of driving while monitoring the environment at all times. The systems they evaluated include include the General Motors’ Super Cruise, (so far the only true hands-free system on the market and currently limited to driving on limited-access highways), the BMW Active Driving Assistant Professional, the Ford Co-Pilot360, Kia’s Highway Driving Assistant and Subaru’s EyeSight technology.
The study determined each of these systems tend to disengage with little to no warning and immediately handing control back to a driver. The driver may or may not be prepared to react quickly enough to avoid a collision. This generally happens when the driver takes their hands off the steering wheel for all but a brief period of time. In the case of the GM Super Cruise it may happen if the camera determines the motorist isn’t paying sufficient attention to the road ahead. Even more troubling is this was shown to occur for random and unexplained causes.
These are far from the only safety systems found to be lacking. Earlier AAA tests of four midsize sedans found auto-braking systems with pedestrian detection systems performed inconsistently. This failure happened especially after dark when up to 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur. It was determined these systems were only about 40 percent effective, and most failed altogether at speeds of 30 mph or higher.
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