Insurance companies are starting to give discounts for drivers of cars with more safety features. The innovation for a truly self-driving car is afoot and safety measures are supposedly leading the way. Currently, there are self-parking features, the lane direct, and the auto-stop features. Car companies have the peddle to the metal promoting that vehicles are on the fast lane to eliminating human error.
However, a new report issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety warns that this vision is misguided. In a paper titled Reality Check the institute reports that safety features should not be trusted with absolution. While the report admits that the semi-automated features can help drivers, there are many instances where these features fail.
In fact, the report even went as far as explaining how self-steering cars could possibly drive a vehicle into an accident. However, the most notable failure was from a Tesla Model S and Model 3. The models did eventually stop. Yet, the test was failed, due to the amount of time and distance, the vehicles took to brake.
Considering all the cars that underwent testing have a score of “superior” on IIHS tests, this is a serious blow. These cars are supposed to be the most advanced pieces of machinery on the road and yet, they are failing simple stop-tests. This has drivers concerned that these expensive pieces of metal might be nothing more than a gimmick.
However, if these ‘superior’ vehicles are unable to pass the test, that would infer that lesser models, with worse ratings, are even less safe. For a culture who spends a significant amount of time driving in their vehicles, this is a scary thought.
Of course, the manuals for the cars in question do state that drivers need to pay attention. Their argument is that these features are an added layer of protection. Yet, that certainly is not how these expensive cars are marketed. With feature names like “Auto-Pilot” and “Pilot-Assist,” it is not unfair to conclude that people expected better.
In summation, these findings prove, if nothing else, that human reactions are still vital to the current driving process. Perhaps, one day, cars will live up to the pedestal they have been placed on. Yet, until that time, it is best for drivers to leave their safety up to them, instead of trusting automation.