As autonomous driving technologies continue to get vehicles more and more advanced, consumer comfort with some of these features has not yet caught up. That’s according to a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that looked at three systems to determine consumer comfort: lane centering, automated lane changing and driver monitoring.
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The survey determined that most drivers prefer partial The automation that comes with appropriate safeguards, while hands-free systems make many drivers nervous. IIHS said while the survey showed that consumer interest in these technologies is strong, it also showed that most drivers prefer features that require them to stay engaged and in control behind the wheel.
“Automakers often assume that drivers want as much technology as they can get in their vehicles,” Alexandra Mueller, the survey’s primary designer, said in a statement. “But few studies have examined actual consumer opposition to partial driving automation.”
Hands On or Hands Off?
The lane centering systems inform and continually adjust the car’s steering to keep the vehicle in the middle of the lane; Some require driver feedback, while others are hands-free. Many of the drivers surveyed said that the hands-free feature would make driving safer and more comfortable. However, IIHS said some respondents said it would be easier to misuse the technology, allowing them to do other things while driving.
Respondents felt differently about automated lane-changing systems, which enabled the vehicle to change lanes, sometimes without driver input. With these systems, many survey respondents said they prefer the hands-on version of the features. In the case of automated lane changing, IIHS said drivers are overwhelmingly preferred to be driver-initiated.
In addition, the survey determined that many drivers have comfortable driver-monitoring features, such as driver-facing cameras and sensors on the steering wheel, because of the increased sense of safety they provide.
“The drivers who were most comfortable with all types of driver monitoring tended to say they would feel safer knowing that the vehicle was monitoring them to ensure they were using the feature properly,” Mueller said in a statement. “That suggests monitoring the safety rationale for communication may help ease consumers’ concerns about privacy or other objections.”
For this nationwide survey, IIHS researchers contacted more than 1,000 drivers and surveyed them about their comfort levels related to lane centering, automated lane changing and driver monitoring.
The survey was designed to help IIHS gather information about how to rate autonomous systems. IIHS announced earlier this year that the agency will begin evaluating self-driving systems with the intention of coming up with ratings to help drivers choose a safer vehicle.
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