While many people are eagerly anticipating the inevitable additional safety of autonomous vehicles, and others are wildly exaggerating how quickly this will all be available, it is apparent that none of it is truly imminent.
Indeed, as the first steps in just semi-autonomy, adaptive cruise control and active lane-keeping are only now getting detailed appraisal, yet these features are only the tip of the autonomy iceberg.
A major issue was addressed by David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, who said: “Designers are struggling with trade-offs inherent in automated assistance. If they limit functionality to keep drivers engaged, they risk a backlash that the systems are too rudimentary. If the systems seem too capable, then drivers may not give them the attention required to use them safely.”
This comment alone must give us all pause for thought about the extent to which drivers are going to overestimate the capabilities of various features which will increasingly be added to future cars. Such overestimation is inevitably going to result in unnecessary deaths — seemingly a ‘Catch 22’ scenario.