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Limitations of Current Semi-Autonomous Vehicles Misunderstood

According to a recent IIHS study, 27 percent of people surveyed thought it was acceptable to remove your hands from the steering wheel of L2 systems found on Supercruise-equipped Cadillacs. 48 percent thought it was acceptable to do so on Autopilot-equipped Teslas. And a startling six percent thought it was acceptable to take a nap while Autopilot was active.

The study exposed the inherent weakness with anything less than L5 automation – as the sub-L5 systems get better at assisting drivers with the task of driving, drivers become more complacent. All vehicles below L5 require a human operator either in the driver’s seat or remotely operating the vehicle. The takeaway from the study is that OEMs 1) need to educate consumers at the time of sale of the limitations of the autonomous systems, 2) develop ways to maintain driver awareness and interaction with the vehicle, and 3) devise contractual agreements with consumers and insurers to deal with liability issues from inattentive driving.