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Here's Proof That Cars Can Not Drive Themselves

Autonomous Car / 5 Comments

Perhaps people will stop putting too much trust in "self-driving" systems.

Self-driving cars are supposed to usher humanity into a world where accidents are a relic of the past, yet today's systems are far from reaching this point. Every time a Tesla is involved in an accident, the immediate story becomes whether or not Autopilot was at fault. Clearly cars with supposed "self-driving" systems are not ready to be trusted completely, but consumers don't seem to comprehend the limitations of these aids. As cars with driving aids continue to be involved in accidents, it is important to know why the systems may fail in real world situations.

Thatcham Research, a UK-based insurance research group, put together a video explaining why so many vehicles with semi-autonomous features are still getting into accidents. The video does a great job of explaining what we have noticed in some of our tests with these features.

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The video shows two vehicles, a Tesla Model S and a BMW 5 Series, both demonstrating the limitations of semi-autonomous driving aids. The first issue lies with adaptive cruise control. ACC works great when following the car in front, but if the lead car pulls away suddenly, the system may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. The next issue deals lane keep assist systems. We've tested Volvo's system, which is one of the best on the market, and found it to work perfectly well on a straight highway. When the roads get twisty, systems like these can easily become lost and stray into the opposing lane. It pays to understand how these systems work, and how they should be used safely.