How electric cars are the future Automated systems in cars are supposed
to make life behind the wheel easier. But new studies suggest they might
cause more confusion among drivers.Two
studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claim drivers
don't know enough about how these systems work, and can become misguided
on their features based on their names, such as Tesla's Autopilot.
levels of automation could potentially improve safety," said IIHS
President David Harkey in a statement. "However, unless drivers have a
certain amount of knowledge and comprehension, these new features also
have the potential to create new risks.
featured a survey of more than 2,000 drivers and asked about five
automated systems: Autopilot, Traffic Jam Assist for Audi and Acura,
Cadillac's Super Cruise, BMW's Driving Assistant Plus and Nissan's
The survey required participants to answer questions
about two of the systems.In the case of Autopilot,
48% of participants said it was safe to take your hands off the wheel
while using the system, while "substantially greater portions of people"
thought Autopilot was safe to use while viewing scenery or reading a
book compared to other systems.A second study
reviewed whether drivers understood what was displayed by their
The study took 80 volunteers and had them watch
videos of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class' Drive Pilot system from the
perspective of the driver, then answer questions about features like
The results found some drivers couldn't understand why lane centering wasn't active during portions of the drive."When
lane centering does not work because of a lack of lane lines, you need
to steer," said Harkey. "If people aren't understanding when those
lapses occur, manufacturers should find a better way of alerting them.
Autopilot has emerged in headlines following links to deadly car
crashes where the feature was reportedly enabled. In May, federal
investigators confirmed a Tesla vehicle had Autopilot engaged when it
crashed into a semi truck in March, killing the driver.