Drive-assist systems fail every 8 miles on average, AAA study finds


FILE – This May 13, 2014, file photo shows a row of Google self-driving Lexus cars at a Google event outside the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. California regulators release safety reports filed by 11 companies that have been testing self-driving car prototypes on public roads on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. The papers report the number of times in 2016 that human backup drivers took control from the cars’ self-driving software, though companies argue such “disengagements” don’t always reflect something going wrong. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A new study from AAA revealed that cars equipped with active driver assistance systems, like auto lane-centering or auto-braking, experienced some type of issue every eight miles, on average.

Researchers said this could spell trouble for cars that combine auto acceleration, braking and steering systems since they often disengage instantaneously with little notice, handing control back to the driver.

AAA says this could be especially dangerous if a driver has become disengaged from driving or has become too dependent on the system.

“AAA has repeatedly found that active driving assistance systems do not perform consistently, especially in real-world scenarios,” Greg Brannon, director of automotive engineering and industry relations said.

In a series of real-world tests, AAA tested the functionality of these driving assistance systems and found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of errors involved instances of lane departure or erratic lane position. That means the vehicle could not reliably hold its lane without driver input.

In closed-course tests, AAA found that the systems performed mostly as expected, but were particularly challenged when approaching a simulated disabled vehicle.

In tests approaching a stopped vehicle, a collision occurred 66% of the time with an average impact speed of 25 mph.

“Active driving assistance systems are designed to assist the driver and help make the roads safer, but the fact is, these systems are in the early stages of their development,” added Brannon. “With the number of issues we experienced in testing, it is unclear how these systems enhance the driving experience in their current form.

Brannon says this could be a concern for future developments.

“In the long run, a bad experience with current technology may set back public acceptance of more fully automated vehicles in the future.”

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