The American Automobile Association (AAA) has undertaken two tests in the past two years of the partially automated driving systems on test vehicles. AAA announced that the test indicated the automated driving systems did not always function properly. Therefore the AAA Automobile Club is recommending that car companies limit the use of these vehicles.
Researchers with AAA recently tested systems from five manufacturers over a distance of 4,000 miles, and said they encountered problems every 8 miles. Most of the issues involved systems designed to keep vehicles in their lane, but the tests discovered that many had trouble spotting simulated broken-down vehicles in their path. About two-thirds of the time the test vehicles hit the broken-down car, at an average speed of 25 mph, according to the study.
AAA’s director stated that AAutomakers need to work toward more dependable technology including improving lane keeping assistance. Also the systems, which combine control of acceleration, braking and steering, often quit working with little notice to drivers, AAA found. That could cause a dangerous situation if the driver isn’t fully engaged and has to make an emergency decision.
AAA tested five vehicles at several research centers, with drivers and instruments monitoring their performance. Included this year were a 2019 BMW X7 SUV, a 2019 Cadillac CT6 sedan, a 2019 Ford Edge SUV, a 2020 Kia Telluride SUV and a 2020 Subaru Outback SUV. Their systems have names like Kia’s AHighway Driving Assist,@ Subaru’s AEye-Sight,@ Ford’s ACo-Pilot 360,@ Cadillac’s ASuper Cruise,@ and BMW’s AActive Driving Assistant Professional.
The results were similar to those found in 2018 testing by AAA of four other vehicles including a 2017 Tesla Model S with the company’s [email protected] system.
Automakers generally say they tell drivers that their cars aren’t fully self-driving and that they should always be alert and ready to intervene. AAA said most owners manuals explain that the systems have trouble spotting stationary objects.
Also, research has shown that people become overly reliant on the technology, which could be dangerous when the systems don’t work. Also, there’s no standardized way for the vehicles to notify drivers that the systems are disengaging. Some just have a green light on the dash, while the Cadillac’s steering wheel vibrates and a green light goes to flashing red.
In real-road tests, all of the systems had trouble keeping the vehicles in their lanes, and they came too close to other vehicles and guardrails. Test track examinations of three vehicles, the Kia Telluride, BMW X7 and Subaru Outback, found that all had trouble spotting a simulated broken-down vehicle in their lane most of the time.
Problems with the system could slow the adoption of fully autonomous vehicles because owners who experience the driver-assist technology may not trust it.