Topic: Safety

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    NTSB Finds That Tesla Autopilot Was Partly to Blame for Fatal 2016 Crash (Sep 12, 2017)

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    Studies Find Pre-Autonomy Safety Systems in Cars Prevent Crashes, Save Lives (Aug 23, 2017)

    The article linked below discusses several recent studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and other bodies, which provide substantial evidence that advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) like lane departure warnings and blind spot detection are preventing crashes and saving lives. This is notable because autonomous driving technology is widely expected to reduce crashes significantly, but is likely years away, while traditional car manufactures have been working for years on ADAS technology, and that’s already having a positive impact. That’s great validation for the strategy of most vehicle manufactures working in parallel on improving and broadening ADAS while simultaneously working on autonomy, because it suggests the former efforts are providing real benefit today, while autonomy is still years away. It’s also going to be very helpful for those trying to get regulatory approval for autonomous systems to be able to point to these results as evidence of the broader claims. Crucially, however, ADAS augments the driver’s own skills and awareness rather than replacing the driver, whereas intermediate autonomous technologies introduce scenarios in which drivers either can or may be tempted to pay less attention to the driving task, which can actually create new risks. The key in developing autonomous technology will be to implement methods to keep drivers attentive so that they act appropriately even as the tech in the car increasingly takes over.