The Benefits and Possible Liabilities of Vehicle Automated Driver Systems, A Three Part Series

In Parts I and II we discussed automated driver assistance technologies and whether we are becoming overly reliaant on them to do the driving for us.  Now in Part III we'll sum it up. 

According to a study by the National Traffic and Safety Administration, the majority of drivers generally have favorable impressions of the technologies on their vehicles. For example:

  • At least two in three owners of vehicles with each respective technology reported that they trusted it.
  • More than three in four reported that they found each respective technology useful.
  • At least seven in ten owners indicated they would want each respective technology on their next car and that they would recommend it to others.

However, many respondents demonstrated lack of awareness of the key limitations of the technologies.  For example:

  • Only 21% of owners of vehicles with BSM systems correctly identified inability to detect vehicles passing at very high speeds as a limitation of the system; the remainder expressed various other misconceptions about its function or reported that they were unsure of the system’s limitations.
  • 33% of owners of vehicles with AEB systems did not realize that the system relied on cameras or sensors that could be blocked by dirt, ice, or snow.

A really good article explaining the different types of systems, their function and if they are recommended is at the NHTSA’s website:

The best advice we can give is know your vehicle's systems!  Read your owner's manual and at the time of purchase request that your dealership give you a tutorial on the systems and how they work.  If buying a used vehicle, contact the closest dealership for the tutorial and to perhaps have them check to make sure the systems are functioning properly.

It appears the bottom line is that we are getting lazier behind the wheel and should keep our attention on the task at hand, i.e. driving safely.  Remember that driver assistance systems are just that – systems to assist us, if needed, while driving.

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