IIHS Says No Automaker Meets New Self-Driving Protection Criteria

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has long implemented tougher tests for automakers. From more demanding side impact ratings to testing automatic emergency braking systems, the IIHS typically goes above and beyond the government standard. This time, semi-autonomous driving systems are under his microscope.

The agency has come up with stricter criteria for semi-autonomous driving systems. It focuses more on safeguards that ensure that the driver of the vehicle is fully aware of their surroundings and not dependent on these driving aids. David Harkey, president of the IIHS, explains the need for the new test.

“Partial automation systems can make long journeys less painful, but there is no evidence that they make driving safer. In fact, the opposite may be the case if the systems lack adequate safeguards.

Consumer Reports also shares the same sentiments of the IIHS. The organization recently announced that it will test driver monitoring systems for cars equipped with these systems. According to the company, the only automakers that exceeded their metrics were Ford and General Motors. However, the IIHS parameters are even stricter.

Most partial automation systems have safeguards in place to help ensure drivers are focused and ready. However, the IIHS says that none of the current products on the market meet all of its pending criteria. So what will it take to pass the IIHS tests? There must be constant monitoring of the driver’s gaze and hand position, as well as several types of alerts to get their attention. Driver confirmation for lane changes is also essential. Interestingly, the IIHS would want a fail-safe procedure that slows the vehicle, warns the manufacturer, and keeps the automation off limits for the rest of the trip.

The IIHS adds that adaptive cruise control should not resume after a prolonged stop or if the driver is not watching the road. In addition, active safety systems such as automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning must remain activated for these semi-autonomous driving aids to activate. Finally, the system must not be activated if the seat belts are not fastened.

In its statement, the IIHS called out some manufacturers for overselling the capabilities of semi-autonomous driving systems. As a result, it gives the impression of total autonomy to the drivers, adds the agency.

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