AAA Study Finds Modern Driver Assistance Technology Far from Reliable

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According to a recent study from AAA, modern driver assistance technology is not quite reliable, or, to quote exactly from the paper:

“AAA has repeatedly found that active driving assistance systems do not perform consistently, especially in real-word scenarios”

This is actually the statement of AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations Greg Brannon, and yes, it’s actually bad news for drivers who trust their smart vehicles with their lives.

Modern driver assistance technology is now available in a growing number of vehicles and it works by automating steering and breaking in order to avoid collisions. However, the new study from AAA says that advanced (and expensive) technology doesn’t actually improve the lives of drivers, and moreover, fails to provide reliable safety benefits.

AAA is a federation of motor clubs in North America, and according to the study, advanced driver assistance technology was found to be highly disruptive in daily driving, disengaging every 8 miles give or take, and incapable of mitigating real life issues.

This presents a significant problem for drivers who rely too much on this technology and stop paying attention to what’s happening on the road; as the study puts it bluntly, these systems are far from reliable, yet automakers are pushing driver assistance technology further and further, in order to make routine driving tasks such as stop and go traffic and cruising on the highway completely “hands-free” so to speak.

While automated systems like emergency braking are able to provide real-life benefits, others are still in their infancy, for example pedestrian detection systems. The AAA study evaluated the “Active Driving Assistant Professional” from a 2019 BMW X7, as well as “Super Cruise” from a 2019 Cadillac CTS, the “Co-Pilot 360” from a 2019 Ford Edge, a 2020 Subaru Outback with “EyeSight” technology and a 2020 Kia Telluride with “Highway Driving Assist”.

In real world driving, lane-centering and changing technology accounted for 73% of all disengagements, yet they worked better in “synthetic” situations, i.e. on an ideal test course with very clear lane markings.

Photo Credit: ZF Group

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Chris Black
Chris Black
"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations."

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