The long road to autonomous vehicles has just hit a new speed bump.
Despite great promises of performance from automakers looking for an autonomous future, recent trial from AAA revealed “inconsistent performance” with more basic Active Driver Assistance (ADA) tThis has resulted in repeated collisions between vehicles and cars and bicycles.
Head-on collisions have occurred in each of AAA’s 15 tests featuring oncoming vehicles in a lane of traffic, sending test dummies flying through the air and test cars foaming up. collapse. Only one vehicle, a Tesla Model 3, actually managed to drastically reduce its speed before eventually hitting an oncoming vehicle traveling in its lane, Reuters Remarks. Test vehicles hit a cyclist crossing a line of travel in a third of the tests.
Reflecting on the findings, AAA said the collisions point to the need for constant human attention while drivers have their systems activated, something evangelists like Tesla CEO Elon Musk have injected. confusion. Overall, the systems worked without incident in normal driving situations, but repeatedly crashed in less frequent “extreme cases”. In reality, however, these extreme cases occur regularly during an average driving day.
“While it may be encouraging that these driving systems were successful in spotting slow-moving cars and cyclists in the same lane, the failure to spot a crossing cyclist or an oncoming vehicle is alarming,” said AAA Automotive Engineering Director Greg Brannon. “A frontal crash is the deadliest type, and these systems need to be optimized for situations where they can help the most.”
Testing was conducted on a closed test course using a 2021 Subaru Forester, a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe and a 2020 Tesla Model 3. Each of these models has its own technology of driver assistance capable of reaching Level 2 range. Although Tesla’s Autopilot ADA features performed better than competitors in the AAA test, it still crashed several times. National Road Safety Administration spear a formal investigation into Autopilot last year following numerous reports cars equipped with the feature would have launched into first responder vehicles.
In a statement, AAA urged automakers to address performance and safety issues in currently available driver assistance features before moving to more advanced driverless technologies. technology.
“You can’t sell the future to consumers if they don’t trust the present,” BrAnnon added. “And drivers tell us they expect their current driver assistance technology to work safely all the time. But unfortunately, our tests show that inconsistent performance is the norm rather than the exception. .
Autonomous vehicles still face significant hurdles
This week’s less than stellar results could put a damper on Musk’s reported vision of widespread autonomy. Musk, known for being over-promising, has promised the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles is barely a year away every year since at least 2014. Anyone with a driver’s license knows that those projections haven’t quite come true. Still, that didn’t stop Musk from continuing with the noble predictions. Last month, Musk told investors Tesla is budding reach production volume on an autonomous robotaxi by 2024.
“It’s really going to be a massive driver of growth for Tesla,” Musk said.
Apart from Tesla however, there are signs that the audiovisual landscape is gearing up for change. Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration update its safety rules to no longer require manual driving controls for self-driving vehicles to pass the crash test standardThat’s a big win for self-driving car makers. Under these new rules, vehicles built specifically with range in mind no longer need to be shipped with driver’s seats and steering wheels.
However, whether the rules change or not, self-driving vehicle makers still haven’t quite figured out how to sell the safety and reliability of the technology to the general public. Consistently poor test performance won’t help this sale. In a recent Pew Research survey, only 26% of American adults said they thought the widespread use of driverless cars was good for society, compared to 44% who said it was bad. Almost two-thirds (63%) said they wouldn’t want to get into a driverless car if given the chance, while an overwhelming majority (87%) said they thought the technology driverless cars should be tested with higher safety standards than traditional vehicles.