The only thing referred to as human here is the driver, and the only person whose safety is discussed is the driver. Clearly at some point during the composition process the writer got bored of using the term "pedestrian", because it looks like he hit up the thesaurus, discovered the term "biped", and decided that would be a good term to use. (But I bet you a fiver these cars won't stop for kangaroos or ostriches other than as part of some generic collision avoidance system.)
In the writer's defence, the sentence about the driver's safety is a mite ambiguous - but it could have been more explicit, so I'm going to be uncharitable here. And I do give him points for sneaking the term "run people over" in the last sentence, because he could so easily have referred to it as an accidental unavoidable pedestrian collision incident or something.
This is car culture 101: expensive Cars (and their drivers) are the top of the foodchain, cyclists and pedestrians are the bottom. Depending on where you live this might differ (e.g. in the Netherlands cyclists are on the same level as motorists and you can really see it in the architecture).
And the modern police force.
This kind of language is par for the course because these articles basically use a less terse version of whatever language the study or official report uses and those kinds of documents tend to shy away from things like "people driving cars" and "people walking".
You are finding meaning where there is none.
And the rest of the article is about a test with crash dummies. Why would the author talk about "people" when the tests were performed with dummies?
Because the upshot of the tests is that if your car is equipped with ACAS that "detects pedestrians," then it may lull you into a false sense that your car will avoid running people over and killing them even if you stop paying attention. The reality is that the ACAS is not foolproof and you shouldn't rely on it. But these systems are likely to create a Volvo Effect, where the people who have them drive much more recklessly than people without them.
That has been borne out with studies of how people adjust to airbags, SUVs, pickups, and other vehicles they emotionally perceive as being safe.
One of the things I've read about risk compensation is that it has very little correlation to the actual safety of a vehicle, and a lot of correlation to certain features that people emotionally associate with safety.
For example, modern automobiles are safer when they provide plenty of rear visibility. However, many inexperienced drivers feel safer when cocooned in opaque materials, so they feel safer in vehicles with less glass. It feels to them like they're wrapped in protective steel.
Likewise, in a previous era people felt safer in longer vehicles, even if those same longer vehicles were less maneuverable and therefore more likely to get into an accident in the first place.
Length of vehicle is highly visible, the ability to avoid an accident is not.
From the article:
Tesla: 20 tests, 20 kills - 0% success
Chevy Malibu:20 tests, 20 kills - 0% success
Honda Accord: 20 tests, 4 kills - 80% success
Toyota Camry: 20 tests, 12 kills - 40% success
There were other tests (also failed) but the article didn't give full details on those so I won't include them here.
Looking at that, one manufacturer has a product that works poorly and three manufacturers should probably face sanctions for selling their "product" in a US marketplace.
It's hard to compare because people and machines fail in different ways. Machines don't really know what people look like or how they behave, and are easily misled. People get drunk, get tired, get angry, look at their phones, and generally get confused. Humans have remarkable talents for putting together a 3D scene with only two eyes, but those eyes are extremely restricted in the range of wavelengths they perceive.
If we get aggressive in shutting down the cause of accidents, we're going to ban cars entirely. The machines are far from perfect; they may even be far from good. But the machines are getting better, and humans are getting worse.
Hard hypothesis to test. Just stay away from Volvo’s.
If you want to "stay way from Volvos" on account of it, fine. Please also consider throwing a pinch of salt over your shoulder when you spill it, and crossing the street when you see a black cat.
1. A car that only brakes when you react
2. A car that brakes when you react, and also sometimes when you don't.
The only way that AEB might conceivably make you less safe is if you pick up bad driving habits because you expect the all-knowing robot to keep you safe. This certainly applies to some people, but that's the person's fault, not the manufacturers fault for rolling out systems that are better than nothing, even if they aren't perfect.
Edit: I'll acknowledge that unexpected braking events might mean that AEB equipped cars have a higher risk of being rear-ended, but this test was about pedestrian safety. I'm including this edit just because I know someone will bring it up thinking it proves that they are smart even if it wasn't the point of the study.
The very few times someone will have a positive experience with AEB it’s likely to be a huge adrenaline inducing panic response. As in, oh fuck fuck fuuu.. phew!
It think would take quite a bit of psychosis to actually drive in a way that you were “relying” on AEB.
I think if drivers are getting annoyed by false pedestrian collision detection alerts, they are approaching pedestrians far too closely/quickly.
You mean like approaching an intersection with phone in hand, and eyes on the phone? I see it every day.
I think the point GP was making is that those people who are prone to do so will do that without AEB just as much as with.
I'm a full driving automation sceptic who believes that even automatic transmission makes people more dangerous drivers, but even I can follow the argument.
Unlike many other elements of car automation, AEB isn't meant to move a task from doing it yourself to supervising the computer, it's the reverse of that. And even if AEB worked 100% reliable every time, drivers would still try to keep AEB engagements at zero because the sudden maximum braking is so much less comfortable than regular braking.
AEB deliberately chooses maximum braking to a full stop because that does NOT feel like skill, it correctly feels like you nearly died just there. The experience is intended to be "Oh shit" not "See, I was never going to hit that, it's fine".
During rush hour in my UK city I reckon on about 1-in-50 drivers I see using mobile devices in hand whilst driving. Most appear to be lone female car drivers, most dangerous are male lorry/van drivers (who presumably are using delivery/routing apps).
What? No, it means they are approach bridges at perfectly normal speeds. Or glare in the Sunrise/sunset. Or random things blowing across the road that aren't actually pedestrians. False positives are a real problem.
The best safety features are intangible until needed for this reason.
What makes you believe this? Just because you won’t trust it until it happens doesn’t mean that the average driver won’t. It’s advertised as a feature of the car for s reason.
Not quite. Imagine you are driving along a narrow but straight sections of a road. The road is wet, there are leaves on the surface and shallow puddles of water. You're doing 50 mph (or 80 km/h) and you feel comfortable because visibility is good, there are no other drivers, no animals and you can see for hundreds of meters in front of you and there are empty fields beyond one row of trees on each side of the road. Then suddenly a flicker of light or some shadow makes your AEB system brake suddenly as if trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian right in front of you. Your car's ABS does it's best, but the leaves, the water and the speed mean your car starts sliding, when the tires recover traction the whole car is angled 20 degrees to the left.You have no time to do a right turn to recover and you end up crashing into one of those thick trees still going 30 mph (or 50km/h). If you're lucky you're ok. The car is totalled. Will you buy another car with that automated braking system?
I don’t mean to suggest the AEB system is without flaws, but if applying sudden breaking cause the break lines to rupture or whatever, that’s a serious failure on it’s own.
Yet ABS and traction/stability control are safer for the vast majority of drivers (who are terribly poorly trained on vehicle dynamics).
I have to disagree. After using a car in various slippery conditions the way ABS and traction control works is very predictable. This new system is more like an airbag than ABS. You can't really test it in a controlled environment and get familiar with it. You will be surprised when it activates. The key question everyone is asking is: is it going to be a positive surprise or a negative one?
All of my traction tests on severe ice have shown that the ABS does about the same as I can, which is to say, terribly. Drivers should know that ABS can't stop a car that has no traction. That is an education problem, not an ABS problem. If you can reliably reproduce a case where ABS does worse than a driver with a few hours of training, I'm pretty sure that there are some organization that want to talk with you.
Try it sometime.
Or read the NHTSA study on it: http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NRD/Multimedia/PDFs/VRTC/ca/c...
I know what you're saying, but I think it's a false equivalence.
In that scenario, braking hard enough to engage ABS at all is the failure. It is not a failure on ABS's part unless you consider all ABS faulty. Some loss of yaw control is inevitable whenever ABS is engaged. ABS only gives better yaw control than completely locking the wheels.
> when the tires recover traction the whole car is angled 20 degrees to the left.
That’s not just some loss of yaw control. That’s an ABS system utterly failing to do it’s job. The point of an ABS system is to avoid the exact situation described.
Especially if rather than stopping with a slight twist it’s twisting enough that hard breaking means you often lose control.
LOVED that car so much. They just get the UX so much.
Tested driving through empty cardboard boxes three times from 30km/h steady not moving inputs a mm:
First time detected and applied braking, but stopped 5cm into them, only just knocking top one off the bottom.
The next two times it stopped just in front. All times car engine stalled into stop and go mode, IIRC, and applied hazards automatically.
(Was I one of the three only drivers who ever verified the systems workings?)
In dense highway traffic, on a few instances it alerted me to stopped traffic ahead when I was checking mirrors and tired. Was able to stop myself before AEB.
Found myself using radar cruise all the time after that, as it applies braking earlier.
Loved the rear cross sensor especially when pulling out from 45d angle parking, and doubly so when being parked next to a truck. One does not simply reverse into these. AFAIK Tesla still doesn't offer rear cross alert.
Did I mention BLIS with visual indicators in the mirrors? Or the fully functional HUD? All this for a fraction of the cost of a Tesla or other luxury vehicles offering the same - in 2014 this list was far shorter than today. Really miss it, would buy again if we had to have another 2nd car.
My reading of this article is different: indeed they do make your car safer, if you're driving it. But we're being told that self-driving cars are just around the corner and regulators are beginning to allow self-driving cars on our streets. This article shows just how poor the technology is, and how we are nowhere near ready for self-driving cars on our streets.
I'm sure not hearing many people saying that these days. I'm not sure there's a real consensus on exactly where things will be in 10, 20, and 50 years. But there seems to be a pretty broad consensus at this point that pretty much nothing is "just around the corner."
Once most of the people with a vested interest in self-driving being imminent found they couldn't credibly keep to that storyline, things got quiet in a big hurry.
When you bring up fault, it implies you view this as a conscious change in behavior.
It could be. But many driving habits can't really be conscious decisions as they're judgement calls that one couldn't explain if pressed. If visibility is poor and you decide to drive slower than the speed limit, you are picking a speed that feels right. The way you approach an intersection or a curve with bad line of sight is based on your sensation of the possible risk.
It seems impossible to figure out how people respond to a moral hazard individually, but there is a strong enough signal in aggregate that the phenomenon is well known by insurers.
If the unconcious factor outweighs the benefits of the system, an AEB is a net negative.
Like this article says, in city traffic that's stop and go, these systems could prevent rear-endings. But it could also make drivers more complaisant and not pay as much attention in situations where these systems don't work as well (higher speeds on freeways or with pedestrian detection).
There are good rules of thumb for things like approaching intersections(slow down, move foot to brake pedal), and you can use EG the dotted lines of the road to decide whether you're going too fast for conditions. The rule of thumb is that you pick a dot that just enters your field of view, and then count out how many seconds it takes for it to disappear below your hood. If it's less than about 5, you are driving too fast for conditions and should slow down. And the rule of thumb is 3 seconds for a strip appearing from behind the car in front of you for a safe following distance on the highway.
It's not nebulous at all.
I'm arguing that "responsibility" and "fault" are appropriate for resolving a legal dispute, but they don't tell you if a system as a whole is more safe or not.
> The rule of thumb is that you pick a dot that just enters your field of view...
How often do you do this check? And why?
Sure it can. If "drivers" rely on this instead of being vigilant themselves, then it absolutely does make the car less safe.
Cars can get extra points in that category if they have AEB features. But if it turns out that AEB isn't effective, this just makes dangerous cars (like SUVs or vans) appear safer than they really are.
So I'd say it's fair to criticise AEB. It's misleading to claim "AEB makes your car safer for pedestrians" when in reality a car with a lower hood and bigger windows without AEB would be a lot less dangerous for pedestrians.
Yes, unexpected braking events can cause rear-end collisions, but that was not the point of this study. If a pedestrian walks in front of a car unexpectedly you can either try not to hit them by braking (or possibly swerving if the situation permits), or you can just take the action you're implying and plow right on through them because your unexpected braking might cause some other people to get hurt.
My 2016 Subaru Forester with Eyesight has gotten confused and applied the brakes while weaving through the gates at military bases (these are low speed and lined with barriers), but other than that I have had no unexpected braking events in my car that weren't justified. In 40k miles the Eyesight system in my car has helped with about six close calls (I can't know if they would have become collisions), and haven't been rear ended. Right now I'm going to say that AEB systems add plenty of safety value to offset the increased risk of a rear end collision.
That said, a good way to get an angry rant from a truck driver is to talk about cars cutting in front so they no longer have an appropriate stopping distance.
If you do that then I'd imagine that the trucker is going to be more likely to just steamroll you rather than risking jackknifing.
Then stop following so closely. Problem solved. Don't tell me not to have a safety feature in my car because another driver isn't driving safely.
It is a quick simple rule that avoids dealing with he said she said situations in the days before dashcams and the inaccuracy of this approach would roughly balance out across the insurers. Sure it screws the people who aren't actually at fault but they can't (or couldn't, before dashcams) prove that anyway. This kind of thing will probably go away in the future because everybody will just have dashcams.
The case you're describing is exactly what AEB is designed to protect you from and if the car behind you couldn't react as fast as your AEB and he rear-ends you, then he was following you too closely.
If you’re tailgating. Don’t tailgate.
There is no evidence that they make your car safer, but there is evidence that AEB fails in common situations or in ways a human driver wouldn't.
This is only true with false-negatives. A false-positive (say, on a pedestrian-free, controlled access highway) could easily be actively harmful if it causes abrupt changes in vehicle behaviour that would not occur if a human were in full control.
Maybe in the eyes of the law. If pedestrian-detection-equipped vehicles cause more deaths, however, it is quite relevant.
The systems are not reliable yet. Fortunately humans are not totally reliant on them yet either so humans are still effective as a safety backup.
The trick is to make sure the crossover point (when humans become so reliant that they are ineffective safety backups) comes after the system becomes highly reliable. Unfortunately humans are already unreliable to begin with even without AEB, so we are just going to deal with a few incidents from autos, both those without AEB, and, until it becomes perfect, those with AEB.
Too late, we're commenting on an article about them failing in common scenarios.
I haven’t had any experiences with pedestrians at speed in front of the vehicle, but the rear automatic breaking in my Subaru is very aware of / sensitive to people walking behind it.
The systems work as described and don't claim to work in every scenario.
I wonder how to explain the disparity. Could the video you linked have been taken with AutoPilot enabled maybe?
That said, it should be noted that the Honda Accord actually did quite well in these tests.
It's how aviation got insanely safe. Every passenger airplane crash is scrutinized. The very distortion in thinking that makes people think flying in airplanes is more dangerous than cars is what motivates every crash to be scrutinized.
Not by media attention though; it took an authoritative, hard-line government body to reach that level.
The dummies were articulated, moved, and designed to mimic the infrared response of a real human. See section 4.2.
> ..using a still, cold dummy..
The kind of infrared you're thinking of is probably not the kind the sensor can detect. Only thermal imaging cameras can detect far infrared range - the one that can help distinguish hot objects from cold ones. 'Normal' IR cameras only capture near infrared - which tells you nothing about the temperature.
Parent is talking about far-infrared (ie, thermal) sensors. Many car models have high-resolution thermal sensors.
Tested cars unlikely to have the feature