Advanced driver assistance technology automating steering and braking in a growing number of vehicles is not providing reliable safety benefits, a new study by the American Automobile Association shows.
Reuters reports that researchers at AAA, a federation of North American motor clubs, found the systems recorded disruptions and disengaged roughly every eight miles, encountering situations they were not equipped to handle.
That creates dangerous situations if drivers rely too much on the technology and stop paying attention to the road, the AAA researchers said, adding that the systems are "far from 100% reliable."
A Ford Mondeo equipped with self-driving technology being tested on San Francisco streets.
"AAA has repeatedly found that active driving assistance systems do not perform consistently, especially in real-word scenarios," Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering and industry relations, said in a statement.
Reuters reports that car makers are accelerating the automation of routine driving tasks including cruising on a highway and stop-and-go traffic. The options offer a new source of profit for automakers as more consumers buy or lease vehicles with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
Some of the systems, such as automatic emergency braking, have proven safety benefits, while others, including pedestrian detection, are still in their infancy.
The AAA study evaluated a 2019 BMW X7 with "Active Driving Assistant Professional," a 2019 Cadillac CT6 with "Super Cruise," a 2019 Ford Edge with "Co-Pilot360," a 2020 Kia Telluride with "Highway Driving Assist" and a 2020 Subaru Outback with "EyeSight" technology.
While lane-centering and changing technology worked better on a test course with clear lane markings, the systems accounted for 73% of all disengagements in real-world driving.
AAA, which said it had met with industry leaders, called on car makers to improve the systems or risk alienating consumers likely to mistrust increasing vehicle automation.
GM said in a statement that it remained confident that its system could alert drivers whenever the situation warranted and allow them to safely retake control of the vehicle.