Vehicles equipped with advanced driving assistance systems – such as lane-keeping and lane-wander warning technology – behave inconsistently and are potentially dangerous, according to a study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA).
The study tested so-called 'level-two' autonomous technologies, which allow the car to take over control of steering, braking, and acceleration under some circumstances.
These features include adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance systems, and lane keeping sensors.
Researchers found, on average, cars equipped with such technologies experienced an issue every 8 miles (13km).
The functionality of the active driving assistance systems was tested on public roads and on a closed-circuit course to determine how well they responded to common driving scenarios.
On public roadways, 73 per cent of errors involved instances of “lane departure or erratic lane position”.
On closed testing roads the systems “performed mostly as expected”, however were particularly challenged when approaching a simulated disabled vehicle.
When encountering this scenario, a collision occurred 66 per cent of the time and the average impact speed was 25 mph (40kmh).
Above: Testing vehicle collides with stationary dummy.
“AAA has repeatedly found that active driving assistance systems do not perform consistently, especially in real-word scenarios,” said Greg Brannon, the director of automotive engineering and industry relations at AAA.
“Manufacturers need to work toward more dependable technology, including improving lane keeping assistance and providing more adequate alerts.”
“Active driving assistance systems are designed to assist the driver and help make the roads safer, but the fact is, these systems are in the early stages of their development.”
“With the number of issues we experienced in testing, it is unclear how these systems enhance the driving experience in their current form. In the long run, a bad experience with current technology may set back public acceptance of more fully automated vehicles in the future,” Bannon concluded.