IIHS Study Reveals What Automated Systems Drivers Like

IIHS tested how drivers react to autonomous driving systems 1 photo
Photo: IIHS
Slowly, autonomous vehicles are making their way onto the roads. We are probably decades away, perhaps even more, before a Level 5 system is ready for operation, but until then more and more driver assistance systems make their way into everyday vehicles.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released last week the results of a study conducted to see which of the automated systems currently in use are more to the drivers' liking. For the study, IIHS used at five different vehicles, driven by fifty-one of the organization’s employees.

The cars tested were a 2017 Audi A4, a 2017 Audi Q7, a 2016 Honda Civic, a 2016 Infiniti QX60 and a 2016 Toyota Prius. Each volunteer was allowed to drive one of the five cars for periods of one day to three weeks, after being given instruction in use of the automated features.

For the study to be relevant, participants had to drive with these systems activated at all times. The results show that, overall, adaptive cruise control and active lane keeping have been the driver assistance features most positively perceived by the drivers.

According to IIHS, drivers preferred adaptive cruise control systems that made gradual changes and consistently detected moving vehicles ahead, and active lane keeping that made less steering corrections.

The perception of automated systems changed depending on traffic conditions. Drivers like it more when the systems were used in light traffic and on interstates than in stop-and-go traffic and on local roads.

"Even with automation, drivers want to feel like they’re in control of the vehicle,"
said David Kidd, IIHS senior research scientist and lead author of the study. "They want these features to fit into their driving style instead of imposing a different driving style on them."

The technologies that were tested represent at most Level 2 automation. Level 2 means there are at least two automatic functions, but he driver is still responsible for all the other task required for driving.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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