The Potential Horrors of Partial Automation in Cars: As Drivers Get Used to It Accidents Soar

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The Potential Horrors of Partial Automation in Cars: As Drivers Get Used to It Accidents Soar

The Potential Horrors of Partial Automation in Cars: As Drivers Get Used to It Accidents Soar

Self-driving cars are supposed to help with several issues, including making the roads safer – but are they achieving this goal? Unfortunately, one study has found that much of the safety results found might disappear after a driver gets used to using their vehicle. Learn how comfort with these partially automated vehicles can increase the number of car accident, and contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 if you are in need of a free legal consultation.

The Main Issue

Research done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab has shown that as drivers become more comfortable with automated systems, they pay less attention. They found that drivers were more likely to take both of their hands off the wheel more often and to fidget with their electronics more commonly.

How the Researchers Did Their Work

The researchers looked at the driving behavior of 20 volunteers in Massachusetts. They looked at driving information as the volunteers became more familiar with and comfortable using advanced driver assistance features. They looked at how often both hands were removed from the steering wheel, and how often the volunteers completely took their eyes from the road to do things such as changing the music or use their phones.

Ten of the volunteers drive a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque that had adaptive cruise control, which keeps the vehicle going at a speed the driver chose but also automatically maintains an established following distance. The other ten volunteers drove a Volvo S90 with that feature plus Pilot Assist, which adds lane-centering technology that keeps the vehicle in the middle of the travel lane.

These Are Not Highly Automated Vehicles

In order to understand how serious this situation is, it is important to remember that these are not highly automated vehicles that can essentially function on their own. The SAE has classified automation systems from zero (with no automation) to five (with full automation). The advanced driver assist, which was the only automation included in the first group’s vehicle, is ranked a one on the SAE scale.

The Pilot Assist provides automation on two different tasks (speed and staying in the right lane) and is, therefore, a level two system. This is the highest automation available in vehicles today, but it is far from sufficient in taking care of itself.

The Importance of Avoiding Distractions

If these drivers begin to pay less attention to the road, the longer they use these level one and level two systems, it is not hard to see what car accidents and serious injuries could follow. If you have been injured in this type of accident, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 now for a free legal consultation.


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