We at Motor Illustrated like the idea of autonomous driving cars in very specific scenarios, such as driving into work in the morning. Otherwise, we want to be in control.
There are many drivers out there that do not enjoy the privilege that is to drive and so, if they have the means, will opt for a car with a Level 2 autonomous driving aids. The issues with these semi-autonomous driving functions is that they remain semi-intelligent and require frequent driver inputs in order to continue to function.
Over the last two or three years, a number of crashes have been reported in which Tesla’s Autopilot feature was involved. With that in mind, a team of Australian researchers has been trying to determine how risky these Level 2 systems really are.
On a closed course, drivers would negotiate a series of hindrances with and without the autonomous function. The test also involved random alarm noises that would require the driver to manoeuvre around an imaginary obstacle. While the results are summary, they are also worrisome.
Reaction times for participants relying on the system were up to 3.5 seconds. This doesn’t seem like a long time however this is in stark comparison to a hands-on driver who needed only between 0.5 and 1.5 seconds to respond. In other words, it took Autopilot and Caddy Super-Cruise users seven times more time to react. Seven times.
A few manufacturers have already addressed this issue in part by installing camera-based driver monitoring systems but even so, there’s still much work to be done before we can truly sit back, relax, and be driven to the office.
How do you feel about autonomous cars?