If your car check your blind spots and can hit on the brakes, will that make you a driver? Automakers are stressing it may.
Technology that keeps a safe distance from other vehicles, keeps cars in their lanes, warns of visitors that is hidden and slams the brakes to prevent rear-end crashes is spreading to Hondas from luxury cars. However, these aids are having an unintended consequence: They are skills that are degrading.
“There are many concerns about people checking out and we’re trying to track that today,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “That which we do that makes the driving task a bit easier means folks will pay a tiny bit less attention when they are driving.”
For carmakers trying to tackle driver abilities that are deteriorating, the stakes are immense. U.S. roadway deaths jumped 14 percent during the previous two decades, with over 40,000 people dying in crashes in 2016. Distraction is another culprit while speeding and roadways bear some of the blame. While driving, such as texting or surfing the internet, has been on the upswing, data published by the government show manipulation of devices.
The features which are the building blocks of tomorrow cars were developed to compensate for inattentiveness behind the wheel. They might be enabling drivers to place faith in the technology.
The auto market is “terrified” about the unwanted side effects of the favorite new features, and companies are scrambling to find ways to keep drivers participated instead of glued to their telephones, said Mark Wakefield, managing director and head of the automotive practice at consultant AlixPartners LLP.
General Motors Co. is installing eye-tracking technology on the Super Cruise attribute coming to Cadillac models later this year, which enables drivers to take their hands off the wheel but requires watching the street. Nissan Motor Co.’s ProPilot Assist retains the car focused and brings it to a stop in its lane if the driver goes over 30 minutes without grabbing the wheel. Tesla Inc. last year employed limits on drivers’ ability to go hands-free when using the corporation’s Autopilot system.
“You can be conservative in your style and emphasize safety over convenience to safeguard the consumer from themselves, which is required, but the entire industry isn’t going to do that,” Wakefield said. “So you will be right, but you did not sell a vehicle.”
Toyota Motor Corp. researchers recognize the new technology is changing the way people drive, and it has pioneered studies with major universities to learn how driving habits might evolve.
“What are the newest risky behaviors going to be?” Chuck Gulash, manager of the Collaborative Safety Research Center of Toyota, said in an interview. “Is it going to be people testing their vehicles into the limits? Or showing off to their neighbors?”
Consumers understand the perils of relinquishing control, even if they don’t always heed their advice. Fifty-seven percent said technology will erode skills to the car-shopping site of researcher Kelley Blue Book in a casual survey of 847 traffic.
“Without doubt, technology is making drivers lazier and less attentive,” said Mike Harley, team managing editor at Kelley Blue Book. “Most of the digital ‘driver assistance’ attributes are intended to overlay basic driving skills, which calms the driver’s sense of obligation.”
A University of Michigan study revealed that may be true. Research was conducted by the faculty for an automaker concerned with how people are using when another vehicle is in a location detection systems that alert drivers. The study found a substantial increase in motorists failing to look over their shoulder when changing lanes, to check for themselves.
Too much confidence
“The more they’re exposed to these systems, the more they expect that the systems,” said Shan Bao, as associate research scientist in the university’s Transportation Research Institute, who conducted the analysis. In crisis situations, “they will trust the systems more than they will trust themselves.”
Surveys have shown consumers are fond of attributes since they relieve the monotony of long excursions and take the strain. However, abuse has been encouraged by the liberty afforded by the guides by drivers who treat the technology as though it capable of taking control, with no input or little necessary. Videos have emerged showing drivers as they trick the technology leaping from the back seat.
A national investigation into the fatality this past year at a Tesla Model S traveling in Autopilot manner revealed before crashing into a semi, the driver had his hands on the wheel for 25 seconds. Has altered Autopilot to require driver input.
“At a very basic level, customers do not have any notion of how these systems work because they are all named something different and they operate differently,” said Greg Brannon, director of automotive technology and business relations at the American Automobile Association.
Although AAA is urging regulators and automakers to think of standard terms and parameters for features, that conflicts with automakers want to develop and market systems and seek an edge over rivals.
Some producers are currently currently pushing at the boundaries of security by fielding systems that enable drivers to keep their hands off the wheel for too long in front of a chime and dash light remind them to take hold, Wakefield said, to make their cars look more sophisticated.
“The notion that you could take your hands off the wheel for 15 seconds and the driver remains in control, that is not realistic,” said Lund, of IIHS. “If they are taking off their hands for 15 seconds, then they are doing a few other things.”
It is difficult for motorists to understand because automakers send signals, what systems can and can not do. The owner’s manual takes a careful approach because attorneys down water wording to avoid exposing automakers to liability, to describing the aids, the Brannon of AAA said.
Another threat is that motorists become accustomed to the aids when getting into vehicles or cars that are not equipped with the 33, that they overlook.
Performance varies by manufacturer if a driver jumps to an car that’s equipped with a system. Some cruise controls, as an instance, can bring a car to a stop during driving, but not at highway speeds.
“So a driver might become used to it working in city, but not realize that over speeds of 50 mph, it is not likely to bring the vehicle to a halt,” Brannon said. “And that could end badly.”