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Study finds semi-autonomous vehicles make dangerous mistakes

Louisiana motorists shouldn't trust the electronic driver assist systems on their semi-autonomous vehicles, according to a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Apparently, the systems may have difficulty identifying stopped vehicles and could even steer distracted drivers into an accident.

IIHS researchers tested the semi-automated capabilities of five vehicles on a track and on the road. These vehicles included the Tesla Model S, Tesla Model 3, BMW 5-Series, Volvo S-90 and Mercedes E-Class. They found that the electronic driver assist systems on all the tested vehicles failed under certain conditions. For example, both Tesla models hit a stationary balloon on a track when researchers turned off their adaptive cruise control systems. However, when the system was turned back on, the vehicles braked in time to avoid the collision. All the other tested vehicles managed to avoid the balloon under all track conditions.

When the vehicles were tested on the road, researchers found that every car except the Tesla Model 3 had trouble recognizing stopped cars ahead of them. Meanwhile, the lane-centering systems on the Tesla Model S, BMW and Volvo regularly failed to keep the vehicles from drifting outside the lane. This was particularly true on curves and hills. The authors of the study concluded that semi-autonomous vehicles can reduce car accidents. However, they said electronic driver assist systems are not 100 percent reliable and require the driver's full attention at all times.

Distracted driving car accidents often cause catastrophic injuries that leave victims unable to work for weeks or months. In some cases, victims are left permanently disabled. A personal injury lawyer could help injured victims take legal action against the inattentive driver who caused the accident.

Source: CNBC, "Testing finds flaws with car electronic car safety systems", Aug. 7, 2018

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