An insurance industry group has warned that trucks and cars which are equipped with electronic driver assist systems might not be able to stop always and can even steer you into a crash if enough attention is not being paid.
This warning was issued on Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in a paper titled “Reality Check”. They had checked five systems from BMW, Tesla, Mercedes and Volvo on track as well as public roads. Yes, they can save lives but the systems can fail in some circumstances.
Out of all, the scariest things were found in the systems of two Tesla vehicles, the Model 3 and Model S. The systems were tested with the adaptive cruise control turned off. However, the automatic braking was kept on. At a speed of 31 miles/hour, both the Teslas braked and did mitigate a crash. But eventually, they hit a stationary balloon. These models were the only ones that failed to stop within time during the tests on the track.
However the good thing was that when the adaptive cruise control was active the Teslas braked earlier and much gentler to avoid the balloon. The role of adaptive cruise control is to keep a set distance from cars in front.
On actual roads, the engineers found that all the vehicles apart from the Tesla’s Model 3 failed to respond to static vehicles ahead of them.
It should be noted that the systems in the Teslas, BMW’s 5-Series, the Mercedes E-Class and the Volvo S-90 are considered to be the best at present. They also have been rated “superior” in previous IIHS tests. Undoubtedly, the systems do enhance safety but the tests now show that they are not 100 percent reliable.
On curves or hills especially, many of the cars’ lane-centering systems did not work properly. The IIHS said that the Model S, BMW and Volvo “steered toward or across the lane line regularly”. This eventually led to requirement of driver intervention.
It was also analyzed by the Highway Loss Data Institute, which is affiliated to the IIHS that Tesla insurance losses to find that automatic braking and the other crash avoidance features available in the Model S were helpful in reducing bodily injury and property damage claims. However adding “Autopilot,” which does include automatic steering and lane-changing, helped only to lower collision claims.
The IIHS also said that the California crash of a Tesla Model X SUV in the month of March that had killed a man has proved that technology has its limitations and the drivers do tend to misuse it.