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Advanced driver assistance: A matter of trust


Advanced driver assistance technology continues to evolve, notwithstanding the proverbial “bumps in the road” that have occurred. From fender benders to catastrophic crashes, automation systems will likely never be perfect and may always require tweaks and improvements when it comes to the most minor of driving tasks.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the latest challenge facing cutting-edge partial automation systems involves adaptive cruise control (ACC). Unlike its conventional counterpart, ACC maintains a preselected following distance, allowing the driver to avoid braking that only serves to reset the system. Lane centering keeps the vehicle in the middle of the road.

However, accounting for curves in the road apparently is creating challenges, particularly sharper bends. Drivers are either turning off the feature, fearing that it may not work, or, more alarmingly, the system is automatically deactivating the safety feature.

Drivers lacking confidence in adaptive cruise control

A recent field operational test conducted by MIT’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Consortium revealed that ACC is less likely to be active when curves become sharper. Drivers operating the vehicles used in the test were 72 percent to 75 percent less likely to use ACC on significant curves.

Turning off technical features due to a lack of confidence presents severe risks. A previous IIHS study revealed front crash prevention systems reduce rear-end crash rates by 50 percent, with those involving injuries at a 56 percent decline. Additional research shows that lane departure warnings reduce single-vehicle sideswipe and head-on crashes of all levels of severity by 11 percent.

Researchers believe that lane-centering systems can only improve those numbers for drivers who lack confidence that the tech will work when they need it to.

Purchasing a car represents a bond of trust that the vehicle will operate properly and safely. However, when a driver is uncertain about the effectiveness, crashes occur that can change and end lives.