Legal Help With Experience, Compassion And Integrity

The potential dangers of partial vehicle automation

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2022 | Driving safety

Partial automation in cars represented a milestone in motor vehicle technology. Most systems are composed of two main features that assist in highway driving. Adaptive cruise control maintains the vehicle at a set speed while maintaining a proper following distance from the car in front of the driver. Lane centering provides steering support to keep the vehicle in the middle.

A handful of systems are able to make lane changes and perform other advanced maneuvers.

Overreliance on systems

With most technology that provides some sense of safety, overreliance can result in not-so-safe outcomes. The Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that drivers rely on partial automation regularly operate vehicles as entirely self-driving.

Early adopters with Cadillac Super Cruise, Nissan/Infiniti ProPILOT Assist, and Tesla Autopilot installed in their vehicles admit to eating, texting, and other distracting behavior that take their eyes off the road. The most likely to pretend or presume that vehicles were fully self-driving were users of Super Cruise at 53 percent. Autopilot consumers were at 42 percent, and ProPILOT was at 12 percent.

IIHS President David Harkey places some of the blame on marketing efforts that feed into these dangerous and potentially deadly misconceptions.

Systems that replace a human driver or provide safety to an operator to conduct other tasks do not exist. In-house testing and actual motor vehicle collisions bear this out. Despite warnings and tangible evidence, some drivers will take advantage of a system that is supposed to keep them safe. That level of negligence can result in severe and potentially fatal motor vehicle accidents.