From The Verge:
But upon examination, these new features are hardly the panacea that their boosters imply. Some elements presented as safety enhancements (like lane keep assist) may be little more than driver conveniences. For now, at least, those technologies that could save the most lives (like pedestrian detection) remain deeply unreliable. And even if ADAS eventually works flawlessly, it is likely to have only a modest impact on annual traffic deaths.
Much to unpack in that one paragraph.
- This stuff doesn’t “work” enough of the time. A feature meant to avoid a collision need only fail once for a driver to mistrust it. You cannot call it a success if it succeeds 9 times out of 10; it has to work 99.9999% of the time. And even that might not be enough.
- This stuff is not designed for safety. It can be marketed as a safety feature, but auto manufacturers do not view Lane Keep Assist on the same level as shatter-resistant glass and seat belts1.
- Even if it worked and was designed for safety, the car and it’s occupants are not the place where safety is a big problem. Pedestrians are! Cyclists are! All those other users of streets and sidewalks. And all the effort, time, and treasure invested in making the car stay in it’s own lane could have a much greater effect if deployed on building safer, more traffic-calmed streets.
Great article with a lot of good sources behind it. Bookmarking it here for the future.
Wow to this, from the article: “In 1975, Sam Peltzman wrote a seminal economics article examining the safety effects of state seat belt laws. Peltzman concluded that the mandated use of seat belts led drivers — secure in the straps across their waists — to take more risks behind the wheel, leading to injuries and deaths that negated those saved by the belts themselves.” ↩︎