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Hagerty Employee

Acclimation to partial autonomy can be dangerous, study shows

Trust is generally a good thing. In the case of partially autonomous driving systems, however, trust may increase risk, rather than decrease it.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab recently conducted a month-long study with 20 Massachusetts-based volunteers. The researchers found that as drivers became comfortable to their vehicles’ various driver-assist features, they became increasingly sloppy—dropping their hands off the steering wheel or looking away from the road to the console or their cell phone.


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I find autonomy a very dangerous thing. While in theory yes this should make things more safer but in reality the weakness is still the human. 


The harsh truth is people need to remain engaged and by not being engaged is a primary way not not remaining in tune with conditions. 


In airplanes, auto pilot works generally nothing is close and the margin of error is much greater than a guard rail 5 feet away. Often too in larger planes you have two people involved. 


The only way this works well is if you remove the human. Then you are at the risk of a programmer someplace. He will make the choice if your car goes off the cliff or if you hit the kid on the bike. 


The way I see it we live in an imperfect world and if we are going to have mistakes I would rather the choices remain fully in my hands. 


Also Many of us enthusiast would rather remain with the wheel in our hands as we take driving seriously.


But the crashes of Tesla's show they still have issues. The new Cadillac version will be the same as while better the human factor will screw it up somehow and people dies or are injured when they do. 


I see the same for all this flying car as just crazy talk. While it may be possible look around do you want these people moving in all dimensions?  Many can't deal with what they have now. 


I feel the solution is more for those who can drive properly they should and for that should not be behind the wheel be removed. We are too forgiving with drivers. Those who are not able to prove they can drive with out being on something and or do something really stupid they should be removed from the road till they wake up or grow up. 


I had some idiot the other day on a bike pull a wheelie just as I was trying to make a left turn. If the crash had not killed him I may have considered some major harm. He was lucky and got the bike down in time. 


Lets stop trying to make our vehicles smarter and make our people smarter and more responsible. It their is accountability at fault, you either fix them or remove them.