Consumer Reports: Simplify automated driver-assist systems

A driver assistance system that lacks ease of use not only causes driver frustration, but can also compromise the safety benefits of the system. consumer report.

Those baffled by driving assistance features may ignore them altogether.

“If it’s not fun to use in the car, if it’s beeping constantly, if it’s doing something unexpected or confusing, why are you doing it, how are you doing it?” Not only is it confusing, it can be annoying and frustrating if you don’t know,” said Kelly Funkhouser, Vehicle Engineering Manager at Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center.

Consumer Reports published guidance on easy-to-use advanced driver assistance system controls and displays on December 13th. The design proposal is aimed at automakers and was inspired by their demand for data, he said, Funkhouser.

The 2021 Consumer Safety Agency surveyed 35,250 owners of 2015-22 model year vehicles. The research focuses on adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure, lane keeping and lane center assist systems. Active driver assistance is also considered in this study. This is the simultaneous use of lane centering assistance and adaptive cruise control.

Funkhauser said hard-to-use safety systems can hinder safe driving. Unexpected beeps and unfamiliar symbols can distract drivers. A bad experience can cause the driver to disable the system. “When people turn them off, any potential safety benefits that exist are lost,” she said.

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation and automakers found that rear collisions were halved in vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning.

According to Consumer Reports guidelines, automakers should simplify and personalize the ADAS experience. System names should be consistent across vehicles, such as window stickers, manuals, vehicle displays, online and marketing tools. The system also needs to be personalized, such as the speed at which the lane keeping system intervenes or the acceleration or deceleration rate of the adaptive cruise control system.

The diversity of system names comes down to branding and marketing, Funkhouser said, adding that automakers want their systems to stand out among their competitors.

That’s why Consumer Reports and other safety advocates created the Clearing the Confusion initiative, which recommends a standardized list of names designed to help consumers understand safety systems. According to reports, there may be between 8 and 40 unique terms per system type.

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