Can drivers rely on automated lane-centering technology? Not entirely, according to one recent study.
Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are becoming increasingly more prevalent in cars. According to AAA, they now come standard in about 93 percent of all new vehicles. They are capable of preventing crashes caused by human error by using sensors to detect forward-collision risks, as well as blind-spot crash risks. They can also:
- Automatically apply the brakes to either regulate following distance or prevent a collision entirely
- Emit a sound to alert drivers of a possible crash risk
- Correct a vehicle's steering to prevent veering off the road or over the centerline
Recent studies, however, raise questions of ADAS reliability. One particular study, conducted by researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), cautions that using lane-centering technology may be risky.
Risks of using automated lane-centering technology
Twenty IIHS researchers partook in a series of road tests involving a 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 sedan, a 2019 Infiniti QX50 SUV, a 2018 Volvo S90 sedan, a 2017 BMW 530i sedan, and a 2016 Tesla Model S sedan.
The drivers in the study compared the reliability of automated lane-centering systems with that of adaptive cruise control. The study was led by IIHS Senior Research Scientist Ian Reagan.
"Across all the vehicles we tested, the drivers had more faith in the automated systems' ability to maintain a steady speed and a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of them than their ability to keep them safely in the center of their lane," said Reagan. "But how well they perceived the lane-centering technology to work had a bigger impact on how they rated the overall experience."
The five car models were test-driven through an array of urban and rural settings, including off-ramps, intersections, hills, and curves.
More than three-quarters of the 20 test drivers said that they had more confidence in the reliability of adaptive cruise control, which detects moving vehicles ahead and regulates speed and following distance. On the other hand, the technology experienced more inconsistencies with detecting lane markings and stopped vehicles.
What's even more alarming, some test drivers experienced unnecessary activation of automated steering. For example, participants reported that the automated steering pulled the cars too close to the side of the road, too close to the centerline, or wouldn't allow them to properly center the car between the lines in the road.
These steering challenges were more likely to occur on roadways with frequent obstacles, like curves and hills. They were less common on interstate highways which didn't have nearly as many hills, curves, or other obstacles.
ADAS reliance may increase the risk of a car accident
While ADAS technology may be the future of crash prevention, we still have a long way to go before standard safety features can be trusted entirely. Even then, system malfunctions and defects can occur. If drivers aren't fully engaged and attentive, a car accident can occur within a split second.
Drivers who have already purchased a new car, or plan on buying one soon, should check their owner's manual to learn more about the purpose of ADAS features, how they work, and their limitations.
If someone else's inattentiveness resulted in your car accident, you may have sustained serious injuries that could require immediate and extensive medical treatment. What's worse, you may not be able to attend work or engage in activities you enjoy due to physical limitations and pain. If you think that the other driver's insurance company will pick up the costs, think again. They only care about reducing their own costs and will do so at your expense.
That's why it's critical that you consult with an experienced Wilmington car accident attorney as soon as possible to learn about the legal options that are available to you. The Law Offices of Richard Flexner helps injured motorists build strong legal claims and maximize their compensation. To find out how we can help, contact our law office online and schedule your free case evaluation.