News Technology19 Jun 2018

Motor:Use of term "autonomous car" lulls drivers into false sense of safety

| 19 Jun 2018

Vehicle manufacturers must be responsible in how they describe and name what their vehicles can do, such as using terms like autonomous, with the insurance industry ready to hold them to account on this, according to the ABI (Association of British Insurers).

Mr Matthew Avery, Head of Research at Thatcham Research said, “Names like Autopilot or ProPilot are deeply unhelpful, as they infer the car can do a lot more than it can. Absolute clarity is needed, to help drivers understand the when and how these technologies are designed to work and that they should always remain engaged in the driving task.”

He said, “Specifically, where the technology is taking ownership of more and more of the driving task, but the motorist may not be sufficiently aware that they are still required to take back control in problematic circumstances. Fully Automated vehicles that can own the driving task from A to B, with no need for driver involvement whatsoever, won’t be available for many years to come. Until then, drivers remain criminally liable for the safe use of their cars and as such, the capability of current road vehicle technologies must not be oversold.”

Thatcham Research and the ABI have issued an urgent call to carmakers and legislators for greater clarity around the capability of vehicles sold with technology that does more and more driving on behalf of motorists. The call comes in the wake of growing reports of people crashing whilst over-relying on technology which is not yet designed to drive the car independently.

Thatcham Research, established in the UK in1969, is the motor insurers’ automotive research centre. Its main aim is to contain or reduce the cost of motor insurance claims whilst maintaining safety standards.

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