Partial Driving Automation Need Improvement: IIHS Report

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has introduced a new ratings program aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of partial driving automation systems in vehicles. This initiative seeks to push automakers towards incorporating stronger safeguards to enhance safety. The initial assessment of 14 systems revealed a concerning picture: only one system managed to achieve an acceptable rating, highlighting the industry’s significant room for improvement in ensuring driver and road safety amidst advancing automation technologies.

Key Highlights:

  • Only one system received an acceptable rating.
  • Systems from major brands like BMW, Ford, and Tesla were among those evaluated.
  • Many systems lack adequate driver monitoring and emergency procedures.
  • GM’s Super Cruise performed well in emergency procedures.
  • The Lexus Teammate system stood out for its effective driver monitoring.

The ratings underscore a vital message: despite the allure of partial automation in making driving seem more effortless, the absence of robust safeguards can pose new risks, as evidenced by various high-profile accidents. David Harkey, IIHS President, emphasized the necessity of systems to prevent misuse and ensure that drivers remain engaged with the driving environment.

See also: Drivers Are Treating Partial Automation as Full Self-driving

Significantly, the findings highlighted the variance in the effectiveness of systems across different manufacturers, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Genesis, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tesla, and Volvo. Notably, the Lexus LS’s Teammate system was the only one to earn an acceptable rating, pointing to its superior approach to driver engagement and safety protocols.

The IIHS ratings are particularly focused on promoting features that minimize intentional misuse and attention lapses, alongside discouraging designs that can escalate risks. This includes ensuring that systems cannot be operated when crucial safety features like automatic emergency braking (AEB) are disabled or seat belts are unbuckled.

This inaugural assessment by the IIHS marks a critical step towards enhancing the safety of partial driving automation. While the results indicate significant areas for improvement, they also suggest that with targeted modifications—potentially as simple as software updates—manufacturers can substantially elevate the safety standards of their automation systems. The collective performance across different systems reveals that while no single system excels in all aspects, the potential for safety enhancements is within reach, awaiting action from automakers.

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Self Drive News
Self Drive News

Self Drive News is a premier B2B digital resource meticulously curated for industry professionals, stakeholders, and enthusiasts in the rapidly accelerating world of autonomous vehicles. Rooted in innovation and forward-thinking, we deliver insightful, reliable, and up-to-the-minute news, connecting the diverse and dynamic strands of the autonomous vehicle industry under one interactive platform.