IIHS flunks most semi-autonomous driving systems it tested for failing to prevent misuse

Semi-autonomous driving assistance systems have been around for a while now, but it’s clear automakers need to do more to make sure drivers are still paying attention while their cars do some of the heavy lifting. That’s the message from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which recently released a new ratings program to assess the safeguards around these systems and how well they prevent misuse.

Out of the 14 systems tested, only one earned an acceptable rating, the 2022-2024 Lexus LS. Two, the 2023-2023 GMC Sierra with Super Cruise and the 2023-2024 Nissan Ariya with ProPilot Assist, earned marginal scores.

Eleven others earned poor scores:

  • 2022-2024 Lexus LS: Good for Advanced Drive system
  • 2023-2024 GMC Sierra: Marginal
  • 2023-2024 Nissan Ariya: Marginal for ProPilot with Navi-link
  • 2023-2024 BMW X1: Poor
  • 2021-2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Poor scores for both BlueCruise and adaptive cruise
  • 2023-2024 Genesis G90: Poor for both HDA 2 and adaptive cruise
  • 2023-2024 Lexus LS: Poor for adaptive cruise control
  • 2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Poor
  • 2023-2024 Nissan Ariya: Poor for ProPilot 2.0
  • 2021-2023 Tesla Model 3: Poor for Autopilot and Full Self-Driving beta
  • 2022-2024 Volvo S90: Poor

The scoring criteria include several points for driving monitoring. IIHS testing looks at how well the system monitors driver attention and hand position, warns drivers to comply, and if the function doesn’t discourage corrective measures by the driver. The organization’s president, David Harkey, said that automation might not be the boon for safety that some had hoped. “Some drivers may feel that partial automation makes long drives easier, but there is little evidence it makes driving safer. As many high-profile crashes have illustrated, it can introduce new risks when systems lack appropriate safeguards.”

Perhaps the most critical point out of all of this is the IIHS’ warning that automakers’ marketing buzzwords sometimes cloud the fact that there are no self-driving vehicles. The driver must remain in control, so it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure they know how to use the functions properly and stay ready to take over when things go sideways.

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