AAA Research Shows the Pros and Cons of ADAS

Drivers may just want to hum an old rock song as a AAA study of car drivers with ADAS says they still need to “keep their eyes on the road and their hands upon the wheel.”

The study focuses on consumer reliance of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Conclusions from the study reveal that drivers should keep their eyes on the road and remain prepared to take control of the wheel.

“Evaluation of Active Driving Assistance Systems” states that the endless names for ADAS used by manufacturers can cause consumers to overestimate the capabilities of current systems. “Regardless of manufacturer, all ADA [Active Driving Assistance] systems require continuous driving supervision in all driving environments,” the study states.

The study’s purpose was to evaluate critical scenarios drivers may encounter on highways with ADAS, keeping in mind a previous AAA study on potential distraction times allowed by ADAS. “When considered simultaneously, ADA system performance described herein can illustrate potential consequences when driver disengagement is combined with imperfect ADA system performance in the context of suddenly arising edge-case scenarios within a naturalistic environment.” Previous AAA studies found that ADAS struggles with highway situations that include a vehicle encountering a disabled vehicle partially in the road or a lead vehicle changing lanes to reveal a stationary vehicle ahead on the road.

In all 30 test runs, ADAS detected and avoided a collision with a leading passenger vehicle or adult cyclist. However, in scenarios with a simulated oncoming vehicle within the test vehicle’s travel lane or a crossing cyclist, ADAS’s performance “was significantly diminished.” Collisions were more frequent in the lead vehicle scenarios: 20 test runs created a collision.

“While the refinement of publicly available ADA systems continues to improve, drivers must remain engaged in the driving task at all times,” the study states. Circumstances outside of ADAS’s capabilities “can quickly materialize” and result in a hazardous situation if the driver is not attentive.

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