According to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a significant portion of drivers who use advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) often misuse them, but no more so than users of General Motors’ Super Cruise system.

In the study, drivers of equipped vehicles were interviewed with Super Cruise GM, Nissan’s ProPILOT and Tesla’s Autopilot system. Among these groups, users of all systems said they were more likely to perform non-driving tasks, such as eating or texting, using these partial automation systems.

“The main message here is that early adopters of these systems are still poorly understood the limits of technology“, said IIHS President David Harkey. “But we also see clear differences between the three owner groups. It’s possible that system design and marketing add to these misconceptions.”

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None of the systems included in this test are designed to allow the driver to take their attention off the road or perform activities unrelated to driving. Instead, they are specifically designed to make the task of management easier.

Despite this, 53 percent of Super Cruise users compared to 42 percent Autopilot users and 12 percent of ProPILOT users said they were comfortable handling their cars as if they were fully autonomous. And this despite ​​​​a lot of reports about accidents and warnings of the vehicles themselves.

Indeed, both Super Cruise and Autopilot have lockout features that disable the systems if they detect multiple instances of the driver not paying attention to the road. However, users of both are more likely to take their hands off the wheel and engage in other activities. Super cruise users are also more likely to say that they can perform activities that would be unsafe when the system is disabled.

“These results are frequent users of three different partial automation systems again underscores the need for robust, multifaceted protection measures,” said IIHS Research Associate Alexandra Muller, lead author of the study. “Many of these drivers said they had experiences where they had to suddenly take over because the automation did something unexpected, sometimes while they were doing something they shouldn’t have done.”

Fortunately, a slight majority of all users surveyed say the safety reminders and alerts provided by ADAS systems are useful, if annoying.

“The widespread acceptance of system reminders and interlocks indicates not only that they can make the use of partial automation safer, but that they can be implemented more widely to help combat driver distraction in general,” Mueller said. .