Self-Driving Car Technology Confusing Motoring Public

Thu 18th Oct 2018

Europe leading car safety bodies have said that assisted driving technology is ‘dangerously confusing’ motorists into believing that their cars can drive themselves.

Thatcham Research and crash test experts Euro NCAP have published research which reveals that 71 per cent of motorists actually believe that self-driving cars are already on sale in the UK - they are not.

The shocking survey of more than 1,500 drivers revealed that one in ten polled actually considered going to sleep when the driver assistance system was activated, a further 18 per cent said they could let the car do the driving, sit back and relax.

Misleading marketing materials are being blamed for the high-level of confusion, with some car manufacturers over-promising the capabilities of their driver assistance. Euro NCAP has conducted tests to demonstrate that the assisted driving will not always avoid an accident. The tests show that there are many common scenarios which take place on the UK’s road network where the safety systems fail to avoid accidents.

In the tests, safety experts pointed to the assistance system of the pioneering Tesla, reporting that the American manufacturer’s AutoPilot was actually too effective and risked an over reliance on assistance technology.

“Car makers want to gain competitive edge by referring to 'self-driving' or 'semi-autonomous' capability in their marketing, but it is fuelling consumer confusion,” said Matthew Avery, Head of Research for Thatcham.

“This is exacerbated by some systems doing too much for the driver, who ends up disengaged.'  

Our message is that today's technology supports the driver.

“It is not Automated Driving and it is not to be relied upon at the expense of driver attentiveness. The driver is in control and must always remain alert.

“If used correctly Highway Assist systems will improve road safety and reduce fatalities, but they won't if naming and marketing convinces drivers that the car can take care of itself.”