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AAA Speaks Out: Don’t Buy the New Technology Hype

Beware of new "driver assist" technology. Submitted image

This information has been provided by AAA Allied Group, which is headquartered in West Hartford, CT.


New in-vehicle technology can make for a safer driving experience but when that technology is given names like AutoPilot or ProPilot, motorists may believe the driving assist systems are more capable than they actually are, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

AAA is urging automakers to err on the side of caution when it comes to naming and marketing the new technology, encouraging car dealers not to overhype vehicle capabilities and reminding drivers that they, too, play a role in understanding the limitations of the technology and always remaining engaged when behind the wheel.

“As exciting as these new technologies may be, they are not as fully capable as some of their names might suggest,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for the AAA Allied Group. “It is critical that drivers understand that there are limitations and always remain engaged when behind the wheel.”

Active driving assistance systems (ADAS) combine vehicle acceleration with braking and steering. Researchers found consumer information that stresses convenience and capabilities while minimizing limitations can inflate expectations regarding what the system can do and the situations that it can handle. AAA warns that a false sense of system capabilities created by marketing campaigns can lead to dangerous scenarios on the road.

Potential consumer misunderstanding of new vehicle technology needs to be addressed.

In a previous survey, 40% of Americans told AAA they expect automotive technology with names like Autopilot and ProPILOT to have the ability to drive the car by itself. AAA recommends that automakers provide consumers with information that is not only technically accurate but also balanced in terms of setting expectations that match what consumers will ultimately experience on the road.

Drivers have a role to play, too. They are responsible for taking the time to understand the technology in their vehicle. New features, functions, and limitations should be understood before leaving the car dealer’s lot.

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