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Study shows semi-automated vehicle systems often fail

On Aug. 7, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety warned drivers in West Virginia and elsewhere that Tesla, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo vehicles can be dangerous when operated in semi-autonomous mode. The agency encouraged drivers to use extreme caution when placing their car or truck under semi-automated control.

According to IIHS, vehicles with electronic driver assist systems may have trouble identifying parked or stopped vehicles. They are also capable of steering inattentive drivers into a collision. For example, researchers observed a Tesla Model S and a Tesla Model 3 on a test track with the automatic braking system turned on and the adaptive cruise control turned off. While traveling at 31 mph, both cars failed to avoid hitting a stationary object. The BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S-90 were also tested under the same conditions and did not hit the object. However, when the Teslas were tested with their adaptive cruise control systems turned on, both cars braked and avoided hitting the object.

When institute researchers tested the same vehicles on the road, all except the Tesla Model 3 failed to brake for vehicles stopped ahead of them. The researchers also found that the lane-centering systems on the Tesla Model 3, BMW and Volvo regularly failed to keep the vehicles from drifting, particularly on hills and curves. IIHS noted that many of these issues are addressed in the vehicle's owner's manuals, which explain that drivers must pay attention to the road even when driving in semi-autonomous mode.

Semi-autonomous vehicles have been involved in a number of serious car accidents. Individuals injured in these accidents might have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against both the car's driver and its manufacturer. An attorney may evaluate a victim's case and help prepare the claim.

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

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