[EPNC=정환용 기자] Not everyone understands the differences between semi- and fully autonomous cars, much less the various levels of self-driving technology. As a result, consumers may wrongly assume that a car can take over the controls, a dangerous miscalculation, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Thatcham Research Center warned in a recent whitepaper.
OpinionsThis has already caused at least one death with Tesla's Autopilot feature, and Thatcham CEO Peter Shaw tells Wired that “autonomous ambiguity could result in a short-term increase in crashes.”
While most experts agree that fully self-driving cars are still years away, there's such intense competition among automakers and others developing autonomous technology that it's led to an overstating of the abilities of self-driving systems. Luxury car companies in particular are locked in a race to see who can add the latest semi-autonomous features to their high-end vehicles—and have had to walk back claims on the technology that could be misinterpreted by consumers.
For example, Mercedes-Benz had to deny a claim by one its executives that its semi-autonomous Drive Pilot system would protect a car's occupants over pedestrians in a ‘trolley problem’ scenario. And Audi caught flak for overplaying the capabilities of the AI traffic jam pilot feature on its new flagship A8 sedan.
To help clarify the difference between semi- and fully autonomous vehicles, ABI proposes a two-stage categorization of the technology—assisted or automated—and suggests government regulators adopt this simple classification system.
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