Car maker use of the word ‘autonomous’ dangerous and misleading, says Thatcham Research

By CARSIFU | 13 June 2018

LONDON: Use of the word autonomous in carmaker marketing and literature is lulling drivers into a false sense of security, Thatcham Research warns.

Thatcham Research and the ABI (Association of British Insurers) are issuing an urgent call to carmakers and legislators for greater clarity around the capability of vehicles sold with technology that does more and more driving on behalf of motorists.

The call comes in the wake of growing reports of people crashing whilst over-relying on technology which is not yet designed to drive the car independently.

To provide guidance to carmakers and legislators, Thatcham Research has drawn up a list of 10 key criteria that every Assisted vehicle must have, complementing 10 criteria laid out in 2017 which a car must meet before it can be called Automated. These recommendations represent best practice to promote safety on the roads as Assisted vehicles become ever more commonplace.

“It begins with how systems are named and described across carmaker marketing materials and the driver’s handbook. Names like Autopilot or ProPilot are deeply unhelpful, as they infer the car can do a lot more than it can," said Thatcham Research research chief Matthew Avery.

"Absolute clarity is needed, to help drivers understand the when and how these technologies are designed to work and that they should always remain engaged in the driving task.”