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posted by hubie on Thursday March 21, @07:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-let-go-of-that-steering-wheel-yet dept.

As discussed in this press release (and picked up by auto industry sites), https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/first-partial-driving-automation-safeguard-ratings-show-industry-has-work-to-do recent tests on "Level 2" types of driving automation suggest that more development is needed.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is introducing a new ratings program to encourage automakers to incorporate more robust safeguards into their partial driving automation systems. Out of the first 14 systems tested, only one earns an acceptable rating. Two are rated marginal, and 11 are rated poor.

"We evaluated partial automation systems from BMW, Ford, General Motors, Genesis, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tesla and Volvo," IIHS President David Harkey said. "Most of them don't include adequate measures to prevent misuse and keep drivers from losing focus on what's happening on the road."

The Teammate system available on the Lexus LS is the only system tested that earns an acceptable rating. The GMC Sierra and Nissan Ariya are both available with partial automation systems that earn marginal ratings. The LS and Ariya each offer an alternative system that earns a poor rating. The Ford Mustang Mach-E, Genesis G90, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Tesla Model 3 and Volvo S90 also earn poor ratings, in some cases for more than one version of partial automation.
[...]
The new IIHS ratings aim to encourage safeguards that can help reduce intentional misuse and prolonged attention lapses as well as to discourage certain design characteristics that increase risk in other ways — such as systems that can be operated when automatic emergency braking (AEB) is turned off or seat belts are unbuckled.

Scores are awarded based on a battery of tests conducted over multiple trials, and some performance areas are weighted more heavily than others.

The tests were broken out into a number of different areas, here are the sub-headings and there are several paragraphs for each topic, Your AC submitter included the Safety section in a Spoiler:

Driver monitoring
Attention reminders
Emergency procedures
Driver involvement
Safety features

There is little evidence that partial automation has any safety benefits, so it's essential that these systems can only be used when proven safety features are engaged. These include seat belts, AEB and lane departure prevention. For a good rating in this category, a partial automation system should not switch on if the driver is unbelted or AEB or lane departure prevention is not active. If already in operation and the driver unfastens their seat belt, the system should immediately begin its multi-mode, driver-disengagement attention reminders. Finally, it must be impossible to switch off AEB or lane departure prevention if the automation is engaged.

The hands-free ProPILOT Assist 2.0, Lexus Teammate, and GM Super Cruise systems are the only ones that meet all these requirements. The hands-on ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link and the BMW system come close, but each deactivates without issuing an alert when a key safety feature is disengaged. This is dangerous because the driver may not be aware that they need to resume full control of the vehicle.

In contrast, most of the systems fail multiple safety feature requirements. Volvo Pilot Assist, for example, deactivates without an alert when the driver unbuckles, can be activated with lane departure prevention turned off and also remains active if the feature is switched off mid-drive. The two Genesis systems fail all safety feature requirements.

From the IIHS "About" page

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from motor vehicle crashes through research and evaluation and through education of consumers, policymakers and safety professionals.


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, @08:25PM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, @08:25PM (#1349747)

    Why the hell would i ever use anything automatic, except simple controllable things like cruise control and auto lights, unless the damn car has full level 5 automation. I do not want to be distracted by the idiotic features and i do not want to have to "wake up" and suddenly become in control. Driving with those features is like driving half a sleep. Fuck that. Either full control or no control.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by SomeRandomGeek on Thursday March 21, @08:36PM (3 children)

      by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Thursday March 21, @08:36PM (#1349749)

      Why the hell would i ever use anything automatic, except simple controllable things like cruise control and auto lights, unless the damn car has full level 5 automation. I do not want to be distracted by the idiotic features and i do not want to have to "wake up" and suddenly become in control. Driving with those features is like driving half a sleep. Fuck that. Either full control or no control.

      I almost completely agree with you. However, the correct level of automation required is level 4. Level four is just like level 5, except the car is allowed to say "I refuse to drive right now, because road conditions are terrible. Try again tomorrow." I wish more humans had this capability.

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Friday March 22, @01:20PM (1 child)

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @01:20PM (#1349805) Homepage Journal

        I already refuse to drive when there's freezing rain about.
        I don't need the car to stop me.

        That is, after one distressful day when I had little control of the car while going downhill -- slowly -- on super-slick ice. I survived, and so did the car.
        It was a day when the salt the city put on the streets to keep ice away was being washed off the road by rain as fast as they could put it in, and the rest of the rain was also freezing on contact with the road.
        Never again will I drive under anything resembling those situations.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, @01:19AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, @01:19AM (#1349923)

          We've been out in freezing rain as you describe a number of times...but had sense to either have studded winter tires on the car, or stopped to install temporary tire chains. The latter seem to have been all-but-forgotten, but were very common here in the 1960s-70s, many friends had a set in the trunk (boot). Suitably "shod", freezing rain and wet ice are not much of a problem.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @02:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @02:15PM (#1349823)

        Well i also have to add to that, that i mean level 5 (or 4) in Nordic winter city conditions, not California summer highway conditions.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday March 21, @09:36PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday March 21, @09:36PM (#1349752)

      For what it's worth, I've generally liked having lane assist on while on the highway - I can still easily override that at the wheel, and it will yell if it thinks I have taken the hands off entirely, but when everything is working as planned it will generally help keep me centered. Which is needed due to the nutjobs that drive near where I live (they clocked someone at 120 mph on a 45 mph road, for example).

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ledow on Friday March 22, @09:06AM (3 children)

      by ledow (5567) on Friday March 22, @09:06AM (#1349794) Homepage

      As I have told many bosses on a regular basis over the years:

      - I can have the power to do what I need, and the responsibility for what I need to do... or neither.

      Don't give an automated system the power to drive your car, but no responsibility for doing so.

      And don't give a driver the power to drive the car, but no responsibility for what they do with it.

      Until automation has both the power to drive the car AND full responsibility for what happens when it does, I'm not touching it.

      And if I have the responsibility for what happens - including death, injury, a life-long insomnia remembering how I struck that child, etc. etc. etc. - then I want full control of my vehicle. Even there I am happy to make some small concessions for proven technologies (e.g. ABS, airbags, etc.) but only on long-standing, simple, proven technologies that do not activate in the course of ordinary driving and do a far better job than I at far greater speeds and can't make things worse than they would have been without them through their own failure (sure, an airbag going off accidentally isn't great, but so extremely incredibly rare, no worse than a myriad other mechanical failures, and not something that is going to kill me or even stop me bringing the car to a safe stop if it happened suddenly and unexpectedly on a motorway, so long as I'm driving even a tiny bit responsibly).

      These systems should simply be illegal. A level of assistance should be mandated, and then everything between that and full automation (with full responsibility on the software, so I can "drive" without looking, while asleep, or put my daughter in the car and have it take her to school alone) should be outlawed.

      Driver attention systems, especially, should be absolutely illegal. If you need a box to tell you that you're falling asleep, you should never have got behind the wheel in the first place and should be stripped of your licence permanently.

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Friday March 22, @01:42PM (1 child)

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @01:42PM (#1349812) Homepage Journal

        I do not like airbags.
        They carry safety warnings about their use with young children.
        As far as I can tell back when they became required, they were required only because many drivers refused to wear seat belts.

        Seat belts work. They saved my life once.

        I always wear my seat belt when driving.
        If I forget, the car's warning system warns me, and I am reminded and do it.
        I even put my seat belt on in the back seat of a taxi, when I'm not driving, and the chance of being thrown out of the taxi in a collision is minimal.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by ledow on Saturday March 23, @01:46AM

          by ledow (5567) on Saturday March 23, @01:46AM (#1349925) Homepage

          Airbags are far more effective in addition to a seatbelt.

          Only a few dumb countries allow airbags INSTEAD of seatbelts, and they have to be designed radically differently.

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday March 22, @06:21PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday March 22, @06:21PM (#1349873) Homepage Journal

        Most human drivers are less qualified than a level 2 cruise control! People are stupid.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday March 22, @06:18PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday March 22, @06:18PM (#1349872) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, Einstein? You've tested them all?

      TFA didn't, either. Not a word about Hyundai. My car nags me to keep my hands on the wheel when they ARE on the wheel! And then if the lane becomes a turn lane and I don't signal, the damned thing fights me!

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by ElizabethGreene on Friday March 22, @12:11AM

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @12:11AM (#1349759) Journal

    According to https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/iihs-creates-safeguard-ratings-for-partial-automation [iihs.org] to achieve a "good" rating, the system must:

    Monitor both the driver’s gaze and hand position
    Use multiple types of rapidly escalating alerts to get driver’s attention
    Have a Fail-safe procedure that slows vehicle, notifies manufacturer and keeps automation off limits for remainder of drive
    Automated lane changes must be initiated or confirmed by the driver
    Adaptive cruise control must not automatically resume after a lengthy stop (2 minutes) or if the driver is not looking at the road
    Lane centering should not discourage steering by driver
    Automation features cannot be used with seat belt unfastened
    Automation features cannot be used with automatic emergency braking or lane departure prevention/warning disabled

    Bringing in TFA, you also can't have a phone-shaped object in your hand.

    The seat belt one could be an annoyance for me. I religiously wear my seat belt, but my backpack in the passenger seat is often heavy enough to trigger seat belt warnings. I understand the point of the hand position detection too, but that will need to be implemented carefully. If I've reached over to my phone, the driver assistance system should degrade predictably because I'm already distracted.

    We live in interesting times. :D

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @01:03AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @01:03AM (#1349764)

    A couple of friends that used to do road testing for one of the big "car buff" magazines have been trying to figure out how to make video road tests that convey something useful in a short time. A bunch of their attempts (which imo get better with time) can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/@moblr [youtube.com]
    For example, there are videos showing how well the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping work on some different cars.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by HeadlineEditor on Friday March 22, @03:44AM (4 children)

    by HeadlineEditor (43479) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @03:44AM (#1349773)

    1 in 100 human drivers is acceptable

    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Friday March 22, @04:54AM

      by captain normal (2205) on Friday March 22, @04:54AM (#1349778)

      As bad as some of the drivers are around here, I'm glad I don't live where you live.

      --
      Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts"- --Daniel Patrick Moynihan--
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @07:52AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @07:52AM (#1349790)

      Just one inattentive driver is all it takes to take out himself and another vehicle, possibly a whole family.

      The best case scenario is an innocent tree or bridge support takes the hit and limits the damage to just the bad driver.

    • (Score: 2) by SomeRandomGeek on Friday March 22, @03:51PM (1 child)

      by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Friday March 22, @03:51PM (#1349840)

      Funny that you should pick the number 700% for your snarky comment, given this report by Waymo, that their automated vehicle fleet had "An 85% reduction or 6.8 times lower crash rate involving any injury" per mile driven as compared to an average human driver.
      https://waymo.com/blog/2023/12/waymo-significantly-outperforms-comparable-human-benchmarks-over-7-million/ [waymo.com]
      So, yes, some automated drivers are 700% better than human drivers.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, @01:26AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, @01:26AM (#1349924)

        > ... as compared to an average human driver.

        That's really not saying very much, given the level of distraction and impairment (drink, drugs) in "average" drivers. When these automated systems are better than undistracted and sober drivers, engaged in driving (stick shift) then I'll start to pay attention.

  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Friday March 22, @01:46PM

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @01:46PM (#1349814) Homepage Journal

    Yes, it's possible to start off fresh, and gradually become inattentive without noticing it.

    One technology is effective -- cutting a series of small grooves in the shoulder of the road so that it makes a noticeable noise when the car's tires run over them.

    But to be truly effective, the driver has to acknowledge the warning and safely stop driving.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PhilSalkie on Friday March 22, @02:11PM

    by PhilSalkie (3571) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @02:11PM (#1349821)

    Most of the cars in the world will happily keep driving off the road if the driver becomes inattentive, happily crash into the vehicle ahead of them, run over pedestrians, whatever. We have the technology to prevent that, but we literally don't care enough about innocent people dying in car crashes to pay the cost required to prevent their premature deaths.

    These jackasses are so busy looking at "How scary are these automated driving thingies?" that they never look at "How scary are normal cars?" At least a car with even a minimal ADAS will try to keep its lane, try not to rear-end another car, try not to hit a pedestrian. Any thorough, unbiased assessment of motor vehicles would immediately determine that the problem is not that we are starting to let computers drive cars, but that we continue to allow people to drive cars, and just call the resulting death, destruction, and mayhem "accidents". (I say this having driven about 100,000 miles since 2017 using various forms of Tesla Autopilot and Tesla FSD Beta.)

    They're not "accidents" - they're entirely predictable, we know to great precision how many people will die each day because we let people drive cars. We know where many accidents will occur, to the point that Waze is starting to route traffic away from places where car crashes frequently occur as a way of protecting their users. The world has decided that cheap vehicles are so important to the functioning of modern civilization that the resulting carnage just doesn't matter.

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