According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, far too many automobile owners feel too at ease leaving their vehicles’ driver-assist features in charge, possibly endangering both themselves and other people (IIHS).
According to IIHS, a survey of about 600 regular users of Tesla Autopilot, Nissan/Infiniti ProPILOT Assist, and General Motors Super Cruise revealed that they were “more likely to engage in non-driving-related activities, such as eating or texting, while using their partial automation systems than while driving unassisted.”
The overall message is that the early adopters of these systems are still unaware of the limitations of the technology.
According to the study, 53% of Super Cruise users, 42% of Tesla Autopilot users, and 13% of Nissan ProPilot Assist users felt comfortable letting the system operate when they were not paying attention to what was happening on the road. Some people even mentioned feeling at ease letting the car drive in bad conditions.
These systems, which primarily serve to maintain a car in a lane and track traffic on the highway, combine adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping systems. All require a careful human driver to keep an eye on the road and assume complete control when necessary.
In releasing the survey’s findings, IIHS stated that “none of the current technologies is meant to replace a human driver or to make it safe for a driver to undertake other activities that divert their focus away from the road.”
Although all three automakers warn users about the limitations of the technologies, uncertainty persists. Tesla’s driver assistance system, which it refers to as “full self-driving,” has come under intense scrutiny over the years because, according to auto safety experts, the name is deceptive and could endanger traffic safety.
These features are some of the newest technology seen in vehicles today, but the U.S. government has not established any regulations for them. The testing and eventual use of autonomous vehicles in the US is attempted to be governed by a mix of state legislation and voluntary federal standards.