Report: New Car technology is a work in progress

December 12, 2014 10:40 PM
If you've gotten behind the wheel of a car produced within the past few years, you've likely noticed that it comes equipped with advanced technology. While these futuristic features can be exceedingly attractive to drivers, there's still a few kinks that need to be worked out - at least according to the latest report from AAA. More cars have smart features  AAA's recent research focused on how driver-assistance technologies work in new cars. These features, which include lane-departure warnings, blind-spot assistance, rear-view cameras and similar tools, can be tremendously helpful in preventing crashes. However, AAA also found that there are a few drawbacks associated with this technology. According to the report, the tools encountered trouble depending on outside factors. For instance, blind-spot detection has trouble recognizing motorcycles, and it takes approximately 26 percent more time to identify the machines. The detection also struggled when other vehicles were moving quickly. The report noted that road conditions can also interfere with the systems. Poor road conditions make it more difficult for lane-departure warnings to identify the correct lanes, which in turn can cause false warnings or no alert at all. It wasn't just road conditions, either, as intersections and construction also caused problems. Finally, AAA stated that the sheer number of alerts may be detrimental to drivers. Hearing many different noises can be confusing, and as a result it's easy for motorists to respond in the incorrect way. Clearer warnings may increase the odds that they practice the correct response. Drivers need to learn The most important thing to keep in mind when using driver-assistance technologies is that it takes time to become familiar with them. Drivers will have to figure out just how they work and how to respond to warnings, even taking into account minor glitches or drawbacks. "With nearly three-quarters of 2014 vehicles offering blind-spot detection and 50 percent offering lane-departure warning as options, it's key that consumers are educated on how to get the best benefit from these systems," said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering. "AAA's tests found that these systems are a great asset to drivers, but there is a learning curve." Familiarity comes with practice, so drivers should test out some of the warnings in a safe space. This cold allow them to get used to the alerts, identify them correctly and learn how to respond. Having a baseline is also a good way to establish when the systems may need car repair or similar care.
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