In tests conducted by the organisation, problems arose every 8 miles out of 4,000 miles of driving
The AAA tested a Subaru Outback, a Hyundai Santa-Fe and a Tesla Model 3
Part of the problem is caused by customers not understanding how every system works
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is warning drivers that the new technologies supposed to increase their safety on the road still have a long way to go before they can be relied upon.
The organisation conducted multiple tests to determine the effectiveness of the forward collision warning system in three different vehicles.
For its tests, the AAA used popular models that are equipped with advanced driver assistance features. These were a 2021 Subaru Outback with the EyeSight system, which is often advertised by the automaker, a 2021 Santa-Fe from Hyundai, a brand often regarded as having some of the best driver assistance systems and a 2020 Tesla Model 3 equipped with Autopilot, one of the driver assistance systems that has been on the market for the longest time. The Subaru and the Tesla are both rated Top Safety Pick + by the IIHS and the Hyundai is rated Top Safety Pick.
The scenarios these vehicles were put through included a speeding towards the rear of a slow-moving car, reacting to a cyclist that’s in the way and facing an oncoming car that drifted their lane.
The results showed that the systems perform very well in some situations, but poorly in others. For example, all systems prevented a collision with the slower car and with the cyclist moving in the same direction as the car, but all of them crashed into the oncoming car that was partially in their lane.
In addition, 5 out of 15 attempts resulted in a vehicle hitting a cyclist that was crossing the road in front.
According to the organisation, an earlier test performed in 2020 yielded similar results, with an incident encountered every 8 miles out of a total of 4,000 miles of driving on public roads.
Since some of the collisions the systems failed to prevent could have been fatal, the AAA thinks manufacturers should improve the systems they already have before dedicating resources to developing new autonomous driving systems.
Another issue highlighted by the organisation is that most drivers don’t understand the driver assistance features fitted to their car and how they work, which can result in confusion.
Part of this problem is also caused by automakers who use misleading names or advertisements that overstate the capabilities of the system, most notably Tesla, which insists on calling its two systems Autopilot and Full Self-Driving when neither of them classify has higher than a level 2 on the autonomous driving chart, the same as most other systems.
To fix this, the AAA recommends buyers ask for a demonstration of the features at the dealership before they leave with their new vehicle.