AAA Testing Reveals Inconsistencies in Driving Assistance Systems Test Vehicles Collide with Simulated Vehicle and Cyclist.

Another round of AAA testing reveals inconsistencies in the performance of driving assistance systems found in modern vehicles, resulting in collisions between a simulated car and bicycle.

AAA researchers conducted tests using the three vehicles listed below:

Subaru Forester 2021 equipped with “EyeSight®”
Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 equipped with “Highway Driving Assist”
2020 Model 3 Tesla with “Autopilot”
Each of these automobiles is equipped with an active driving assistance system that combines the tasks of maintaining lane position, forward speed, and distance from the vehicle in the same lane. This is also the highest level of vehicle automation that the general public can purchase. The technologies are neither intended to replace the driver nor are they automated vehicles.

AAA evaluated how this technology responds to a variety of real-world scenarios, such as an oncoming vehicle veering into the traffic lane of the test vehicle and a bicyclist crossing the street. On a closed course, tests were conducted with a foam car resembling a compact hatchback and an adult bicycle dummy.

Mixed results were observed:

The active driving assistance system detected and applied the brakes when approaching a slower-moving vehicle or bicyclist traveling in the same direction and lane.
All test vehicles, however, collided head-on with the foam car, which was partially within their travel lanes. On each run, only one test vehicle significantly slowed down prior to collision.
Five out of fifteen test runs, or 33 percent, resulted in a collision when a cyclist crossed the travel lane in front of the test vehicle.
“The collisions that occurred during AAA testing could be deadly if they happened in a real world setting. While driver assistance technology has made great strides for improving safety, it’s still not perfect. That’s why it’s important for drivers to understand their vehicle’s limitations and stay fully engaged while behind the wheel.” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.

Recommendations of the AAA to Automakers

Prior to focusing on more advanced self-driving options, the AAA believes manufacturers should improve the performance of existing active driving assistance systems.
Manufacturers should implement camera monitoring systems centered on the driver that encourage constant driver engagement and discourage distractions.

Before incorporating these systems into your driving, you should have a thorough understanding of how they operate. Request a demonstration from the dealership and read the owner’s manual and other information provided by the manufacturer online.
Recognize that no vehicle is fully autonomous. These systems cannot function without constant monitoring by a driver who is prepared to intervene.
The majority of Americans are not prepared for autonomous vehicles.

A recent AAA survey indicates that consumer mistrust of fully autonomous vehicles remains high.

85% are still fearful or uncertain about riding in self-driving cars. Despite this reluctance, consumer interest in existing vehicle safety systems, such as:

Automatic braking in an emergency (63%)
Lane-keeping assistance (60%)

“It’s hard to sell consumers on future technology if they don’t trust the present, and drivers tell us they expect their current driving assistance technology to perform safely at all times. Unfortunately, our testing demonstrates that spotty performance is the norm rather than the exception.” Jenkins added.

AAA believes education and experience are the keys to increasing public acceptance of autonomous vehicles. To achieve this, AAA urges automakers to improve the consistency and dependability of existing vehicle safety technology. When drivers interact with their vehicle’s safety systems, they may imagine what it would be like to travel in a car that drives itself.

Previous AAA Research on Active Driving Aids

This is the third time in as many years that AAA has tested Active Driving Assistance technology.

In 2020, on average, Active Driving Assistance System-equipped vehicles experienced an issue every 8 miles, according to research conducted by the AAA. Researchers noted issues with the systems keeping the test vehicles in their lanes and preventing them from approaching other vehicles or guardrails too closely.

Rain (bad weather) affected the cameras and sensors these systems use to “see” last year, resulting in collisions with stopped vehicles in the lane ahead between 17 and 33% of the time. 69%of the time, test vehicles veered outside of their designated lanes.