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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), 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.

Original Submission

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  • (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.

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  • (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) <> on Friday March 22, @06:21PM (#1349873) Homepage Journal

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