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Driver assist still needs driver

 

Recent research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that vehicle driver assist systems are not yet dependable substitutes for human drivers.

Assist features like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings can maintain proper following distance or warn when you are drifting outside your lane, but definitely still depend on driver monitoring and input.  Now, these level one systems are evolving into mechanisms that accelerate, brake and steer automatically.

The level two systems, considered partial automation, currently available on production vehicles, are more aggressive in taking over steering and braking.  With level two, it is still stipulated that drivers must be attentive, with hands on the wheel.  However, with both level one and two assists, drivers tend to place too much dependence on them, shirking their duty to stay vigilant.

Placing total faith in these new driver assists is a fool’s folly according to the IIHS.  In tests of Level 2 driver assistance systems on vehicles from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo, IIHS reported that each system had potentially dangerous weaknesses. “We don't think any of these five systems can be relied on,” said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, adding, “Drivers must remain attentive when these systems are in use.”

Real-world testing highlighted shortcomings in all the systems, with IIHS test engineers reporting that every vehicle tested except Tesla’s Model 3 failed to respond to stopped vehicles ahead at some point.  The Model 3 displayed overly cautious braking 12 times in 180 miles of testing, with engineers reporting that seven of the incidents coincided with tree shadows on the road.  Research suggests that a trade-off exists in automated driving systems, between false negatives in which the vehicle fails to brake and false positives in which the vehicle brakes when no obstacle exists.

Many readers in this region have expressed to me rightful concerns over autonomous systems’ abilities to handle ice-slickened surfaces or road markings obscured by snow.

On-road testing of active lane-keeping systems, which automatically keep vehicles within lane markings, also had inconsistent performance in challenging conditions.  Tesla’s Autosteer system fared the best in a series of six trials on three sections of curved road; only the Model 3 stayed inside the lane markings in all 18 attempts, and the Model S crossed the lane line only once.  The Mercedes and Volvo active lane-keeping systems stayed inside the lane lines in nine of 17 attempts, while BMW's was successful in only 3 of 16 attempts.

It’s evident that these systems stay true to their “assist” monikers, requiring driver attention and input for safe operation.

The dependence on automation should not be hurried.  Level three (conditional automation), level four (high automation) and level five (full automation) are in our future, but only level five will totally relieve drivers of responsibility.  Level three vehicles will be able to drive themselves, but only under ideal conditions and with limitations.  Level four automation will allow driverless cars, but only on certain roads.  Level four technology is available, but many regulatory and legal issues are currently thwarting its proliferation.

Until level five vehicles are fully tested, approved and regulated, drivers must stay involved in the task regardless of advancing onboard driver assist systems.  Only then, after pedals and steering wheels are removed, can drivers sit back and relax with the confidence that artificial intelligence, coupled with perfected technology, will do a better job of driving than they can.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at precisiondriving@spokesman.com.

 

Recent research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that vehicle driver assist systems are not yet dependable substitutes for human drivers.

Assist features like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings can maintain proper following distance or warn when you are drifting outside your lane, but definitely still depend on driver monitoring and input.  Now, these level one systems are evolving into mechanisms that accelerate, brake and steer automatically.

The level two systems, considered partial automation, currently available on production vehicles, are more aggressive in taking over steering and braking.  With level two, it is still stipulated that drivers must be attentive, with hands on the wheel.  However, with both level one and two assists, drivers tend to place too much dependence on them, shirking their duty to stay vigilant.

Placing total faith in these new driver assists is a fool’s folly according to the IIHS.  In tests of Level 2 driver assistance systems on vehicles from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo, IIHS reported that each system had potentially dangerous weaknesses. “We don't think any of these five systems can be relied on,” said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, adding, “Drivers must remain attentive when these systems are in use.”

Real-world testing highlighted shortcomings in all the systems, with IIHS test engineers reporting that every vehicle tested except Tesla’s Model 3 failed to respond to stopped vehicles ahead at some point.  The Model 3 displayed overly cautious braking 12 times in 180 miles of testing, with engineers reporting that seven of the incidents coincided with tree shadows on the road.  Research suggests that a trade-off exists in automated driving systems, between false negatives in which the vehicle fails to brake and false positives in which the vehicle brakes when no obstacle exists.

Many readers in this region have expressed to me rightful concerns over autonomous systems’ abilities to handle ice-slickened surfaces or road markings obscured by snow.

On-road testing of active lane-keeping systems, which automatically keep vehicles within lane markings, also had inconsistent performance in challenging conditions.  Tesla’s Autosteer system fared the best in a series of six trials on three sections of curved road; only the Model 3 stayed inside the lane markings in all 18 attempts, and the Model S crossed the lane line only once.  The Mercedes and Volvo active lane-keeping systems stayed inside the lane lines in nine of 17 attempts, while BMW's was successful in only 3 of 16 attempts.

It’s evident that these systems stay true to their “assist” monikers, requiring driver attention and input for safe operation.

The dependence on automation should not be hurried.  Level three (conditional automation), level four (high automation) and level five (full automation) are in our future, but only level five will totally relieve drivers of responsibility.  Level three vehicles will be able to drive themselves, but only under ideal conditions and with limitations.  Level four automation will allow driverless cars, but only on certain roads.  Level four technology is available, but many regulatory and legal issues are currently thwarting its proliferation.

Until level five vehicles are fully tested, approved and regulated, drivers must stay involved in the task regardless of advancing onboard driver assist systems.  Only then, after pedals and steering wheels are removed, can drivers sit back and relax with the confidence that artificial intelligence, coupled with perfected technology, will do a better job of driving than they can.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at precisiondriving@spokesman.com.

 

Recent research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that vehicle driver assist systems are not yet dependable substitutes for human drivers.

Assist features like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings can maintain proper following distance or warn when you are drifting outside your lane, but definitely still depend on driver monitoring and input.  Now, these level one systems are evolving into mechanisms that accelerate, brake and steer automatically.

The level two systems, considered partial automation, currently available on production vehicles, are more aggressive in taking over steering and braking.  With level two, it is still stipulated that drivers must be attentive, with hands on the wheel.  However, with both level one and two assists, drivers tend to place too much dependence on them, shirking their duty to stay vigilant.

Placing total faith in these new driver assists is a fool’s folly according to the IIHS.  In tests of Level 2 driver assistance systems on vehicles from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo, IIHS reported that each system had potentially dangerous weaknesses. “We don't think any of these five systems can be relied on,” said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, adding, “Drivers must remain attentive when these systems are in use.”

Real-world testing highlighted shortcomings in all the systems, with IIHS test engineers reporting that every vehicle tested except Tesla’s Model 3 failed to respond to stopped vehicles ahead at some point.  The Model 3 displayed overly cautious braking 12 times in 180 miles of testing, with engineers reporting that seven of the incidents coincided with tree shadows on the road.  Research suggests that a trade-off exists in automated driving systems, between false negatives in which the vehicle fails to brake and false positives in which the vehicle brakes when no obstacle exists.

Many readers in this region have expressed to me rightful concerns over autonomous systems’ abilities to handle ice-slickened surfaces or road markings obscured by snow.

On-road testing of active lane-keeping systems, which automatically keep vehicles within lane markings, also had inconsistent performance in challenging conditions.  Tesla’s Autosteer system fared the best in a series of six trials on three sections of curved road; only the Model 3 stayed inside the lane markings in all 18 attempts, and the Model S crossed the lane line only once.  The Mercedes and Volvo active lane-keeping systems stayed inside the lane lines in nine of 17 attempts, while BMW's was successful in only 3 of 16 attempts.

It’s evident that these systems stay true to their “assist” monikers, requiring driver attention and input for safe operation.

The dependence on automation should not be hurried.  Level three (conditional automation), level four (high automation) and level five (full automation) are in our future, but only level five will totally relieve drivers of responsibility.  Level three vehicles will be able to drive themselves, but only under ideal conditions and with limitations.  Level four automation will allow driverless cars, but only on certain roads.  Level four technology is available, but many regulatory and legal issues are currently thwarting its proliferation.

Until level five vehicles are fully tested, approved and regulated, drivers must stay involved in the task regardless of advancing onboard driver assist systems.  Only then, after pedals and steering wheels are removed, can drivers sit back and relax with the confidence that artificial intelligence, coupled with perfected technology, will do a better job of driving than they can.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at precisiondriving@spokesman.com.

 

Recent research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that vehicle driver assist systems are not yet dependable substitutes for human drivers.

Assist features like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings can maintain proper following distance or warn when you are drifting outside your lane, but definitely still depend on driver monitoring and input.  Now, these level one systems are evolving into mechanisms that accelerate, brake and steer automatically.

The level two systems, considered partial automation, currently available on production vehicles, are more aggressive in taking over steering and braking.  With level two, it is still stipulated that drivers must be attentive, with hands on the wheel.  However, with both level one and two assists, drivers tend to place too much dependence on them, shirking their duty to stay vigilant.

Placing total faith in these new driver assists is a fool’s folly according to the IIHS.  In tests of Level 2 driver assistance systems on vehicles from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo, IIHS reported that each system had potentially dangerous weaknesses. “We don't think any of these five systems can be relied on,” said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, adding, “Drivers must remain attentive when these systems are in use.”

Real-world testing highlighted shortcomings in all the systems, with IIHS test engineers reporting that every vehicle tested except Tesla’s Model 3 failed to respond to stopped vehicles ahead at some point.  The Model 3 displayed overly cautious braking 12 times in 180 miles of testing, with engineers reporting that seven of the incidents coincided with tree shadows on the road.  Research suggests that a trade-off exists in automated driving systems, between false negatives in which the vehicle fails to brake and false positives in which the vehicle brakes when no obstacle exists.

Many readers in this region have expressed to me rightful concerns over autonomous systems’ abilities to handle ice-slickened surfaces or road markings obscured by snow.

On-road testing of active lane-keeping systems, which automatically keep vehicles within lane markings, also had inconsistent performance in challenging conditions.  Tesla’s Autosteer system fared the best in a series of six trials on three sections of curved road; only the Model 3 stayed inside the lane markings in all 18 attempts, and the Model S crossed the lane line only once.  The Mercedes and Volvo active lane-keeping systems stayed inside the lane lines in nine of 17 attempts, while BMW's was successful in only 3 of 16 attempts.

It’s evident that these systems stay true to their “assist” monikers, requiring driver attention and input for safe operation.

The dependence on automation should not be hurried.  Level three (conditional automation), level four (high automation) and level five (full automation) are in our future, but only level five will totally relieve drivers of responsibility.  Level three vehicles will be able to drive themselves, but only under ideal conditions and with limitations.  Level four automation will allow driverless cars, but only on certain roads.  Level four technology is available, but many regulatory and legal issues are currently thwarting its proliferation.

Until level five vehicles are fully tested, approved and regulated, drivers must stay involved in the task regardless of advancing onboard driver assist systems.  Only then, after pedals and steering wheels are removed, can drivers sit back and relax with the confidence that artificial intelligence, coupled with perfected technology, will do a better job of driving than they can.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at precisiondriving@spokesman.com.