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Carmarkers urged to be more responsible over naming of vehicle systems

The ABI and Thatcham Research are today issuing an urgent call to carmakers and legislators for greater clarity around the capability of vehicles sold with technology that does more and more driving on behalf of motorists.

Thatcham warns use of the word “autonomous” in car manufacturer marketing and literature is lulling drivers into a false sense of security. A new testing regime to assess the functionality of driver assistance systems will mark down potentially misleading names and dangerous functionality.

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI, said:

“Insurers are major supporters of efforts to get assisted and autonomous vehicles onto the UK’s roads. Given the part human error plays in the overwhelming majority of accidents, these technologies have the potential to dramatically improve road safety. However, we are a long way from fully autonomous cars which will be able to look after all parts of a journey and in the meantime, it remains crucial that all drivers are alert and ready to take back full control at a moment’s notice. Manufacturers must be responsible in how they describe and name what their vehicles can do, and the insurance industry is ready to hold them to account on this.”

Other key elements of the tests will include:

  • Studying the manufacturers’ promotional literature and driving manuals to find out how clearly the systems’ capabilities and drivers’ responsibilities are explained;
  • How drivers cope with enabling, activating, operating and deactivating the systems;
  • Assessment of what happens when the driver is required to take back control, whether routinely or in an emergency (such as collision threats involving stationary and slow-moving vehicles in the road ahead, cars cutting across paths and accidents involving pedestrians)
  • Will the Assisted technology always comply with the law, for example adjusting to local speed limits?

Read the full release from Thatcham here.

Last updated 12/06/2018