In August 2020, the American Automobile Association warned that the driver assistance systems of most new models on the market needed more work to become more efficient. In a test conducted by the organization, safety specialists encountered a problem every eight miles over a distance of 4,000 real miles. Today, nearly two years later, the technology doesn’t look much better or more reliable.
AAA recently conducted a new test with three modern vehicles – a 2021 Subaru Forester equipped with EyeSight, a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe with Highway Driving Assist and a 2020 Tesla Model 3 equipped with Autopilot. AAA simulated different scenarios in which an oncoming car heads into the lane of the test car, as well as a cyclist crossing the street. The tests took place on a closed circuit using a foam car simulating a small sedan.
The test results were mixed, to say the least. All driver assistance systems successfully detected a slow car and a cyclist traveling in the same direction in the same lane. However, all test vehicles collided head-on with the dummy car in cases where it was partially in the test car’s driving lane. In 5 out of 15 cases, a collision occurred when a cyclist crossed the traffic lane.
Based on these findings, AAA says automakers should improve existing active driving safety systems and make them more capable before even moving on to developing more advanced autonomous driving systems. Another measure where AAA sees potential is the implementation of a driver-focused camera to help limit driver distraction.
On the other hand, the organization believes that customers need to better understand how these security technologies work. AAA even suggests that potential buyers request a demo from the dealership before integrating the systems into their usual driving style. More importantly, according to AAA, customers should understand that these systems are not fully autonomous and cannot operate without driver supervision.
“Crashes that occurred during AAA testing could be fatal if they occurred in a real environment,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “While driver assist technology has made great strides in improving safety, it’s still not perfect.”