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Electronic driving assistance systems may fail to prevent crashes

As automakers push toward creating self-driving vehicles, many consumers may be relying too heavily on systems that are not autonomous. AAA tested four different vehicles with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking and found these systems do not always respond correctly, even in everyday scenarios.

Vehicles struggled to stay in lanes and avoid stopped cars

The auto club tested the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S Class, the 2018 Nissan Rogue, a 2017 Tesla Model S and a 2019 Volvo XC40. AAA found all the vehicles had trouble staying in a lane and struggled with curves and busy intersections. Their findings also revealed three of the four vehicles would likely have crashed, when a car ahead of changed lanes or a vehicle stopped ahead on the road. These occurrences forced the drivers to act to avoid a collision.

Owner manuals warn of the driver assistance systems’ limitations related to lane changes. However, the researchers were surprised that most of the vehicles did not respond to stopped vehicles ahead on the road.

Names are misleading for drivers

Automakers warn the systems are only intended to assist drivers, and it is recommended that drivers keep their hands on the wheel when using driver assistance technology. However, with names like Autopilot, Pilot Assist and ProPilot Assist, AAA points out some drivers likely think the vehicles are self-driving.

Drivers must use the technology responsibly

The auto club thinks these features do have great potential to reduce auto accidents and potentially save lives. However, drivers must remember these programs do not make their cars autonomous.

Accidents involving Tesla vehicles with the Autopilot feature raised concerns across the country. In March, a Model X involved in a fatal crash was found to be using the Autopilot feature before the accident occurred. The driver’s hands were not on the wheel for at least six seconds prior to the accident near Mountain View, California.

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