IIHS study shows drivers confuse ADAS with autonomous cars

Advanced driver assistance systems, as their name implies, are not meant to replace drivers altogether. However, a combination of deceptive marketing, faulty technology and the ignorance of so many drivers has contributed to widespread confusion. This can be seen in Oklahoma, as elsewhere in the U.S., and it is reflected in a small way in a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The IIHS asked more than 2,000 drivers what they think would be allowed behind the wheel when these five ADAS are engaged: Autopilot, Traffic Jam Assist, Super Cruise, Driving Assistant Plus and ProPilot Assist. The developers' names being withheld, participants could only form their opinion based on the name. Nearly 50% said that the Autopilot would allow hands-free driving, and over 30% said it would allow talking on the phone.

But the reality is that all five systems allow nothing of the sort. There are five levels of automation (a fact unknown to most of the participants) with level five meaning that a car can drive itself under any condition. Current ADAS achieve level two automation: Drivers must still be actively engaged in driving.

The study also involved 80 people watching a video and being evaluated on their understanding of the ADAS that appeared. Even with a prior orientation, comprehension was minimal.

Drivers who become negligent behind the wheel because they think ADAS will look out for them will only raise their risk for a car accident. When an accident arises, they might bear most of the blame. Victims, for their part, may file a personal injury lawsuit against that driver's auto insurance company and seek reimbursement for medical bills and other losses. Any contributory negligence will lower the amount they are eligible for. Victims might benefit from consulting with an attorney.

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