Automatic braking systems, a relatively new safety feature
in some vehicles and a critical part of autonomous cars of
the future, are facing complaints from drivers who say
some are activating for no apparent reason.
He added that automakers would have to spend years fine-tuning
the design of their autonomous and semiautonomous systems so it
became clear to drivers what the capabilities and shortcomings
of the technologies were and to push drivers away from risky
One key challenge will be human driver reengagement. To experience
most of the benefits of the technology, human drivers will need
to be able to engage in other tasks while the vehicle is
autonomously driving. For safety, however, they will need to
quickly reengage at the request of the vehicle. Such context
switching may need to occur fully and in a matter of seconds
or less. Cognitive science research on distracted driving suggests
this may be a significant safety challenge.
It is no longer speculative fiction, it seems certain that transit
will be fully autonomous within the near future. The transition
between the techonolgy we have now, and that certain future
presents a challenge.
For humans, lack of an overriding algorithm that forces our hands
with strict protocol means that we need to be always taking
inventory of preventative and defensive actions while driving.
This has traditionally been the sole responsibility of the driver,
the captain of the vehicle. Now there are opportunities for
the ball to be dropped, the responsibility to be muddied.
As the various parts of these technologies are
developed and implemented at different stages, we
still need to know how to safely and defensively pilot our
own vehicles. The challenge will be to adapt to changing and
behavior due to the effect of these new technologies, and adapt to
unexpected behaviors of a computer algorithm or failing sensors.
Stage 1: Traditional Defensive Driving
Stage 2: Remaining Defensive During The Transition
Stage 3: Autonomous Vehicle Utopia
The Car Will Stop Me...Right?
This driver thinks their car has "Pedestrian Detection"
Turns out it doesn't.
It also turns out that even if it did, in this case, it
wouldn't have prevented the pedestrians from getting hit.
Like much of technology, descriptions and summaries often end up in
a kind of acronym soup, and this is no different when it comes to
the sensors and various assisted driver technologies involved with
modern vehicles and autonomous vehicles.
FCW (Forward Collision Warning): Anticipates collisions based on
current speed and proximity of obstacles ahead on the road.
Offers either a visual/audible warning in case of potential
collision and/or altering/engaging the braking action.
ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control): Adjust the speed of the
vehicle in relation
to vehicles ahead on the road to maintain safe distance.
Adaptive Headlights: Motor driven headlights that adjust
the direction of their beam to improve illumination
of either curves or of hills.
LDW (Lane Departure Warning): Utilizes sensors to warn a driver
when the vehicle is leaving its current lane without a turn
Blind Spot Assist: Monitors areas around the vehicle that would
be blind to driver making a lane change without turning their head.
Will use an alarm, corrective steering or both.
Backing Assist: Camera transmits view of blind area behind
the vehicle to driver for backing. May also include sonar to trigger
a visual/audible warning of obstacles in path.
Pedestrian Detection Technology: Combination of RADAR and cameras
may use braking and/or steering to avoid collision with a detected
pedestrian or bicyclist.