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01 August 2017

Drivers ‘don’t know how to use their cars’ thanks to confusing flashy names given to ‘self driving’ features

FLASH names given to driverless technology is confusing drivers and increasing their chances of having a crash, according to a new report.

Car makers are giving complicated names to self-drive assistance systems that hints the car can operate itself when actually it can’t.

Driverless
Flashy names for tech is confusing drivers
Getty – Contributor

A prime example is the Tesla Autopilot mode which actually requires drivers to be ready to take control despite the name.

And the Automated Driving Insurer Group (ADIG) – made up of insurers and Thatcham Research – wants manufacturers to be clearer with motorists about “assisted” and “automated” labels.

The report says systems that require the driver to be involved should be designed or marketed carefully otherwise they’re actually more dangerous than not having any kit fitted.

Self-driving cars and autonomous technology is expected to cut accidents and save lives but the report said confusing systems could have the opposite effect.

Peter Shaw, Thatcham Research CEO said: “Vehicles with intermediate systems that offer assisted driving still require immediate driver intervention if the car cannot deal with a situation.

“Systems like these are fast emerging and unless clearly regulated, could convince drivers that their car is more capable than it actually is.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla’s self-driving system is called Autopilot but still requires driver input under law
Tesla

“This risk of autonomous ambiguity could result in a short term increase in crashes.”

The term “automated” should only be used on features that can completely replace the driver and don’t rely on human input at all.

Mid-range systems that require a driver to take control in an emergency should be “discouraged” as they are open to misuse, claims the report.

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers, said: “We know all too well from conventional vehicles that drivers often misunderstand what their vehicles can and can’t do.

“Therefore, consistent standards are needed so that those taking up automated driving technology can do so with confidence.”


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