According to a study released Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), many operators of semi-automatic motor vehicles drive as if their autos are fully automatic, despite the accident risks of doing so.

The study, based on a survey of 600 users of Cadillac’s Super Cruise system, Nissan/Infiniti’s ProPilot system and Tesla’s Autopilot system, found that drivers were able to engage in non-driving activities, such as eating or texting, while using Driver Assistance. were more likely. system

On top of that, more than half of Super Cruise drivers (52%), two in five Autopilot drivers (42%), and 12% of ProPilot drivers told surveyors they were comfortable treating their vehicles as full self-driving autos. Were.

“The big picture message here is that early adopters of these systems still have a poor understanding of the technology’s limitations,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement.

“It’s possible that systems design and marketing are compounding these misconceptions,” he said.

understanding the gap

IIHS is not alone in finding gaps in consumer understanding of the capabilities of driver-assistance technology. Studies by JD Power, a consumer research, data and analytics firm based in Troy, Mich., have yielded similar results.

“We found that 56% of consumers classify the driver-assisted technology available today as fully automated self-driving,” said Lisa Burr, JDP’s senior manager of auto benchmarking and mobility development.

“It’s worrying because we know today those systems are there to assist the driver,” she told TechNewsWorld. “The driver still has overall responsibility for the vehicle.”

IIHS explained that current partial automation systems assist drivers through adaptive cruise control — which can control speed to maintain a safe distance behind a vehicle — and lane centering, which allows a vehicle to navigate its travel lane. Keeps it focused.

It noted that existing systems are not designed to make it safe for human drivers to replace or perform other tasks that may divert their attention from the road. Track tests and real-world accidents have provided ample evidence that systems struggle to recognize and respond to normal driving conditions and road features.

marketing promotion

One factor contributing to consumer misconceptions about the capabilities of computer-assisted driving systems may be marketing.

“Tesla, the way they’ve marketed autopilot over the years and Elon Musk talked about autopilot, has created the impression that these types of systems are far more capable than they really are,” head of E. Analyst Sam Abulesmid said. –Mobility at Guidehouse Insights, a market intelligence company in Detroit.

“Since Musk has been projected as a genius by a lot of people in the media, people are inclined to believe him, even if everything he says is bullshit,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Mike Ramsey, Gartner’s vice president and analyst for automotive and smart mobility, agreed that marketing has played a role in consumer expectations about driver assistance systems. “Tesla names their system Autopilot, which means the vehicle will fly by itself,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“It is implied that the vehicle is driving itself,” he said. “It’s not really driving itself. It’s essentially cruise control with added functionality.”

some supervision required

The way these systems are designed, they do not place firm limits on driver behavior, so drivers do not know what they can and cannot do, observed IIHS research scientist and report author Alexandra Muller.

“It adds to the confusion,” she told TechNewsWorld. “These systems seem highly capable – and they are – but their capabilities are not a replacement for a driver. This message seems to have been lost.”

“These systems are not self-driving,” she said. “They often encounter situations that require driver intervention.”

Müller maintained the idea that drivers always have to be ready to intervene and be prepared to monitor these systems is not something humans are very good at doing. “We’re not very good at monitoring and maintaining a vigil to monitor what these technologies are doing constantly,” she said.

“The more capable these systems are, the more difficult it is to monitor them because the driver is no longer physically involved in the operation of the vehicle,” she continued.

“It’s natural that people would want to do other things to stay alert, but doing anything other than driving means the driver is no longer involved in driving the vehicle.”

distracted driver

If there’s one thing humans aren’t good at, it’s overseeing automation, Abuelsamid argued. “Whenever something is working most of the time, man becomes complacent,” he said.

“It’s hard to stay mentally engaged in a job you’re not physically engaged in,” he said. “By allowing the driver to be hands-free, you’re reducing some of the traditional driver workload, but you’re creating new cognitive workloads for the brain.”

“No one has figured out how to address it,” he said. “Maybe nothing short of full automation is a good idea.”

Driver-assistive systems can be an invitation to distracted driving. “If you tell consumers they can take their hand off the steering wheel and take their foot off the pedals and the vehicle will self-powered, you’re inviting them to ignore,” Ramsey said.

On the other hand, he pointed out that even without these systems, distracted drivers are everywhere. “People are already driving distracted by their phones, so these technologies have become essential to prevent accidents,” he said. “Systems are already accommodating to existing distractions.”

need for better communication

Burr said the auto industry needs a better way to communicate with consumers about the capabilities of driver-assistance systems. “We cannot continue to rely on the dealer’s or owner’s manual,” she said.

“No part of the automotive industry can do this alone,” he continued. “Automakers play an important role in this, but as a whole, consumers are not distinguishing between these levels of automation.”

“It is important for the industry as a whole to provide many learning opportunities to close this gap,” he said.

Abuelsamid advocates adding an active driver monitoring system to ensure drivers are attentive to road conditions while the driver-assistance system is activated.

“Knowing what the limits of a system are and putting systems in place to reduce the potential for customer abuse is really important,” he warned.

Low-income drivers behind the wheel of electric vehicles are expected to reduce greenhouse gases in the coming years, according to a report released Monday by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a science and technology think tank in Washington, DC. necessary to obtain.

Given the lack of low-carbon alternatives to internal combustion engines (ICEs) and the urgency of emissions reduction requirements for EVs to be market success, report authors Madeline Yozwiak, Sanya Carly and David M. Koninsky.

Because of the stakes involved, he continued, the technology maturity path for EVs needs to move faster than an emerging technology.

There is a need for rapid adoption of this young technology if local and global policy goals are to be met, he added. This implies that a wider range of consumers should buy an EV earlier in the adoption process than similar technologies

Since traditional approaches to incentivizing the purchase of EVs may fail to reach low-income and disadvantaged communities, the authors argue that innovation should help address the disparities in EV adoption and assist the broader goal of mass adoption. would be an important strategy.

They believe that by intentionally involving a diverse range of users in the adoption process, technology providers can more effectively identify issues and modify technology to successfully appeal to the mass market.

barriers to adoption

Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at Enderle Group, an advisory services firm in Bend, Ore., agreed that low-income and disadvantaged people who drive cars are critical to the decarbonization of the environment. “That’s where most non-compliant gas cars live, which makes it an important milestone in reducing automotive-based pollutants,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Be aware, however,” he warned, “that most areas still do not yet have sufficient power generation and distribution capacity for these clusters.”

The ITIF report said the top three barriers to EV adoption – range, price and charge time – affect low-income and disadvantaged drivers more than others.

“Standard barriers may be experienced more acutely for low-income individuals than for middle-income individuals,” Yozwick said.

For example, when it comes to low-income drivers, incentives designed to encourage the purchase of EVs can leave their mark.

“The upfront cost is higher than for internal combustion vehicles, yet the primary form of government-created incentive is a tax credit of $7,500,” Yozwiak told TechNewsWorld. “But to benefit from that policy, you must have at least $7,500 in tax liability.”

“If you make $30,000 a year, you won’t have that much in tax liability, so you won’t get the full benefit of that credit to lower the cost of the vehicle compared to higher-income buyers,” she explained.

rich man with garage

Charging an EV can be even more challenging for low-income and disadvantaged drivers. David M. Hart, director of ITIF’s Center for Clean Energy Innovation, told TechNewsWorld, “Low-income people are more likely to live in multi-family dwellings and less likely to have a place to directly charge a car “

Anderle said that because of constraints like price, range and charging time, EVs are often the second car in the family. “Low-income groups likely only have one car that they primarily use, and that is the car that needs to be replaced,” he said.

The report also noted that strategies to accelerate EV adoption among low-income and disadvantaged communities include prioritizing communication and marketing, revisiting perceptions and biases about early adopters, and increasing demand and universal benefits. should be involved in designing government programs to maximize

“Perceptions about who is using this technology inform a variety of decisions,” Yozwick said. “Those decisions result from what defines the types of incentives and policies the technology has made to encourage its adoption.”

“If those decisions are based on misconceptions about who is buying the technology or who can buy it,” she continued, “you perpetuate a bias that could further impact access.”

“When car sellers think of early adopters, they think of wealthy men with garages,” Hart said. “If they focus solely on that group, they will be slow to adopt these vehicles because they will be seen as the province of the rich. We need these vehicles to perform the mobility tasks that all of us need. People need it.”

Enderle notes that EVs were initially offered at the premium end of the market and that public chargers are positioned to serve that segment of the buyer. “Low-income households may not have the power to power a Level 2 charger or the location to install it,” he said.

“Public charging will need to be installed that is more convenient for those populations,” he continued, “such as street inductive charging – which requires less maintenance and is less prone to vandalism – that is available on the ground from companies such as Witricity. achieving.”

Tesla Witricity with Wireless Charger

WiTricity Halo wireless charging for EVs was announced in February.

incentive work

Another takeaway from the report was that the federal government could help increase benefits to the low-income and disadvantaged by modifying the federal tax credit for EV purchases to make it eligible for a refundable, or carry-forward, charging infrastructure. To expand access to and help. Upgrades to older homes.

If the tax credit was refundable, for example, a person who only paid $3,000 in taxes would receive a $3,000 tax credit and a $4,500 refund check from Uncle Sam, or with a carry-forward, they would get a $4,500 tax credit. 3,000 and will be able to carry the remaining credit to subsequent tax years.

Incentives like tax credits can boost sales, said Edward Sanchez, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, a global research, advisory and analysis firm. “Norway recently removed some incentives because they exceeded the 50% threshold for EVs in the form of new car sales, and soon after removing that credit, they saw a drop in EV sales,” he told TechNewsWorld. Told.

“The long goal for manufacturers is to bring the price up to the point where subsidies and credits are no longer needed, but we are not quite there yet,” he said.

move in mass transit

Since most Americans buy used cars, the best thing to do to accelerate EV purchases by low-income and disadvantaged drivers is to accelerate sales of new vehicles, according to E-Mobility Insights in Detroit. Sam Abuelsamid, a leading analyst, said. “As they filter into the used vehicle fleet, they may become more economical,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“The only other thing we can do is encourage people to get out of old vehicles and use mass transportation,” he said.

“As long as Americans want to continue driving their vehicles,” he said, “it’s going to be at least 2040 before you significantly reduce the existing vehicle fleet.”