No car on the market offers full automated driving, despite what 70% of drivers believe

70% of car drivers believe that it is already possible to purchase a car that can drive itself, according to a new #TestingAutomation consumer survey commissioned by Euro NCAP, Global NCAP and Thatcham Research. Despite this belief, the truth is that no car on the market today offers full automation or autonomy, following Euro NCAP test results.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General said, “Euro NCAP’s message from these tests is clear – cars, even those with advanced driver assistance systems, need a vigilant, attentive driver behind the wheel at all times. It is imperative that state-of-the-art passive and active safety systems remain available in the background as a vital safety backup.”

Other conclusions delivered by the tests results

Euro NCAP’s other key conclusions from these tests include:

a) Cars on the market today can provide driver assistance but this should not be confused with automated driving. The driver remains fully responsible for safe driving.

b) Used correctly, this technology can help the driver to maintain a safe distance, speed and to stay within the lane.

c) These systems should not be used in situations they are not designed for and should not be relied upon as an alternative to safe and controlled driving.

d) Different manufacturers have implemented different approaches to the application of driver assistance technologies in terms of the level of assistance given to the driver.

e) Euro NCAP’s tests assess and highlight these differences and the varying degree of driver support each manufacturer provides.
Highway Assist tested in 10 high end models

Euro NCAP’s tests have centereed on the following driver assistant funtionalities: Speed assist, Lane Centering function, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). All of them are usually combined in the Highway Assist Systems

The company has tested the comparative performance of so-called Highway Assist systems in ten cars: the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, DS 7 Crossback, Ford Focus, Hyundai NEXO, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S, Toyota Corolla and the Volvo V60.

Models tested. © Euro NCAP

When used as intended, Highway Assist systems can provide the driver with a more comfortable, less stressful driving environment and help keep a safer distance from the vehicles in front. Systems responded differently in the test scenarios. Different approaches led to differences in the balance between driver and car input, and the likelihood of overreliance on the system. In the more challenging cut-in and cut-out scenarios, a collision can only be avoided with the help of an alert driver who can react in time.

BMW and Tesla marketing content, two examples of not accurate advertising

The #TestingAutomation consumer survey findings have been published at the same time with the results of Euro NCAP’s first assessment of automated driving technology.

The survey findings are in stark contrast to the current capabilities of such systems and highlight the significant confusion that exists amongst motoring consumers when it comes to the reality of automated or autonomous driving.
Euro NCAP underscores that user manuals generally state clearly what the system limitations are and where they should be used. None of the systems restrict use by geofencing.

The company also recognizes that in general, official marketing content is clear in what the role of the driver is, but not always.
For examle, in the case of BMW a promotional video for the 5 series is misleading as the driver takes their hands off the wheel where it is assumed that the vehicle can drive autonomously.

Another example of marketing promotional contents not showing the actual limitations is Tesla. The US compny uses a number of promotional videos which also suggest vehicle autonomy. This creates a mismatch between more accurate information included in the user manual and more misleading information in marketing materials.

Image over the headline.- © Euro NCAP

Related external links:

Autopilot full self driving hardware (Tesla) 2016

Drive to Believe EU (Tesla Ad)

Fully autonomous driving – BMW Group

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