A recent study conducted by the AAA sheds light on consumer attitudes about self-driving vehicles. While automakers continue to make strides in developing autonomous vehicles, AAA research and testing indicate drivers want improvements in existing safety technology before considering self-driving cars.
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) refer to a range of safety features and systems designed to prevent car accidents and keep you, your passengers, and other drivers and pedestrians safe. Various ADAS are available depending upon your vehicle’s make and model.
Some ADAS alert the driver if they veer out of the lane or travel too closely to another vehicle. Others go a step further and monitor and control steering to stay on the road or at a distance from other cars. ADAS also reduce the vehicle’s speed or apply the brakes when a crash is imminent.
Here is an overview of the many different ADAS available in some newer cars:
- Adaptive cruise control: Automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a pre-set distance from the car ahead.
- Automatic emergency braking: Applies the brake to help the driver avoid or mitigate an impending crash.
- Automatic high beams: Switches between low and high beams based on traffic and lighting conditions.
- Backup cameras: Allows the driver to see behind the vehicle when backing up to prevent backover accidents.
- Blind spot warning: Produces an audio or visual alarm when a vehicle is traveling in the driver’s blind spots.
- Forward collision warning: Alerts the driver when a collision with a vehicle ahead is imminent.
- Lane departure warning: Tracks the vehicle’s position and alerts the driver when the car veers near or crosses lane markers.
- Pedestrian automatic emergency braking: Applies the brake if the driver does not respond to a pedestrian detected in the vehicle’s path.
The AAA survey used a probability panel representing the United States’ overall population. More than 1,000 interviews were conducted among adults ages 18 years old and older. The survey found that 77 percent of consumers want ADAS improved, and only 18 percent want carmakers to focus on rolling out self-driving cars. Data shows that 85 percent of consumers are hesitant about self-driving technology, with some expressing they would not trust an autonomous vehicle to transport a loved one.
That may be unwelcome news to Tesla, GM, and other auto companies currently working to deploy fully-autonomous vehicles in the United States in the next two to three years.
AAA Testing Backs Up Consumer Concerns
Additional AAA closed-course testing of three vehicle models suggests consumers have every right to be concerned about driver-assist technology.
The AAA tested the following vehicles: the 2020 Tesla Model 3 with Autopilot, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe with Highway Driving Assist, and the 2021 Subaru Forrester with EyeSight. These models all have SAE Level 2 systems.
SAE levels are used to classify driver support features based on how much human interaction is required while engaged. With Level 2 features, the driver is constantly engaged in the task of driving.
Most tests were conducted using a foam vehicle roughly the size of a small hatchback and a bicyclist dummy. The test vehicles failed to consistently avoid collisions with other vehicles or bicycles during 15 test runs, even when traveling at low speeds.
Here is an overview of the mixed results from AAA SAE Level 2 ADAS testing:
- None of the vehicles tested successfully avoided a collision with an oncoming car that crossed the center lane.
- While the Tesla did detect an oncoming vehicle on AAA’s test track, it could not brake in time to avoid a collision.
- In a test where a cyclist crossed in front of the vehicle at a distance of 390 feet ahead, the Hyundai and Tesla did stop in time. The Subaru EyeSight system failed to detect the cyclist or prevent it in time.
- All three test vehicles stopped in time to avoid a crash with both a bicycle and a slow-moving vehicle traveling in the same lane in the same direction.
It is clear that this technology has potential, but the performance gaps discovered in the study give pause for concern. Although ADAS have undeniably made driving safer, AAA testing show more work needs to be done to build consumer confidence and consistently prevent collisions.
Additional Safety Concerns Regarding ADAS
Beyond the inconsistent results from evaluating these Level 2 systems, some industry experts have additional concerns about this technology.
The lack of conformity between the names of various ADAS can be confusing for car shoppers. That lack of standardization for safety technology names and features also makes it difficult to track the efficacy of these systems as well. Because warning symbols and sounds can vary from vehicle to vehicle, drivers have a slight learning curve to become familiar with new systems.
While drivers must be engaged while these systems are in use, driver monitoring technology is not available in most vehicles. Some believe this technology allows drivers to become dangerously complacent.
Drivers may be more aggressive and take unnecessary risks, assuming this technology will correct them in time to avoid a crash. As the tests show, this is not the case.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
If you are injured in an accident caused by a careless driver, your first step should be to seek medical attention. Some crash injuries are not immediately apparent but develop or worsen over time. Even if you feel okay, it is always good to get checked out by a doctor to rule out internal damage and other invisible injuries.
Call the police after an accident and file a police report for your records. Tell the responding officer clearly and honestly what happened but avoid accepting blame for the crash. Evidence, witness accounts, and medical records will help law enforcement, insurance companies, and lawyers determine causation.
After you have seen a doctor and sought treatment for your injuries, your next step should be a consultation with an experienced lawyer. A lawyer will review your case, explain your options, and oversee your insurance claim and litigation if necessary. If you were hurt through no fault of your own, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses, including property damage, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Are Committed to Achieving Justice for Clients Injured by Reckless Drivers
Auto safety features are becoming more advanced and moving in the right direction, but they are far from perfect. If a negligent driver has injured you, you may have grounds to bring a personal injury claim for damages. One of our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will provide legal guidance. Call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.