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Insurance study blares horn on latest driving hazard: automation

automated driving systems

Most electronic driving assistance systems fail to ensure drivers remain attentive, according to an insurance industry study.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Tuesday released findings of a study of automation and safeguards in newer vehicles that aim to help drivers pay attention to warning and hazards — only to find that out of 14 systems tested, only one earned a low-bar “acceptable” rating. Two were rated “marginal,” and 11 were rated “poor.”

“Most of them don’t include adequate measures to prevent misuse and keep drivers from losing focus on what’s happening on the road,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement.

According to the results, the Teammate system available on the Lexus LS is the only system tested that earned an “acceptable” rating. The GMC Sierra and Nissan Ariya are both available with partial automation systems that earned “marginal” ratings. The Lexus LS and Nissan Ariya each offer an alternative system that earned a “poor” rating. The Ford Mustang Mach-E, Genesis G90, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Tesla Model 3 and Volvo S90 also earned “poor” ratings, in some cases for more than one version of partial automation.

“Some drivers may feel that partial automation makes long drives easier, but there is little evidence it makes driving safer,” Mr. Harkey said. “As many high-profile crashes have illustrated, it can introduce new risks when systems lack the appropriate safeguards.”