Penske Rental Leaderboard May 2024 Advertisement

Automated Driving Terminology Causes Driver Confusion

automated driving

Misleading product names can cause all sorts of confusion for consumers. When those issues transfer to the roadways, however, the repercussions are much more serious. Yet consumer misunderstanding of specific automotive technologies is a growing problem across the country.

According to a new AAA survey, 40 percent of Americans believe that partially-automated driving systems have the ability to drive the car by itself. This idea is confounded by the names of these systems, including Autopilot, ProPILOT and Pilot Assist.

“With today’s exciting advances in vehicle technology, there is a greater need for naming that clearly signals to a driver what the system does,” said John Paul, AAA Northeast Senior Manager of Traffic Safety. “Vague or confusing terminology may lead someone to overestimate a system’s capability, unintentionally placing the driver and others on the road at risk.”

Buying a New Car

Tips and tricks to get you through every step of buying a new car, whatever “new” means to you.

Download Now!

Automated driving systems are not intended to take over the task of driving. In fact, AAA found that these systems can be significantly challenged by every day, real-world conditions such as poor lane markings, unusual traffic patterns and stationary vehicles.

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA tested four vehicles equipped with automated driving systems that combine technologies such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist to help maintain lane position, forward speed and following distance in relation to a lead vehicle. During typical driving situations, the technology generally functioned as expected. However, AAA found test vehicles faltered in scenarios that included moderate traffic, curved roadways and streets with busy intersections. Researchers noted instances where the test vehicle experienced issues like lane departures, hugging lane markers, “ping-ponging” within the lane, inadequate braking, unexpected speed changes and inappropriate following distances.

As this automated driving technology becomes more prevalent in cars, standardized naming across vehicles that clearly reflects how technology functions will be necessary. Greater consistency across the industry will help consumers understand the type of technology their vehicle has along with how, when and where to use these systems.

What’s your opinion on AV? Share in the comments!

Read more about AV and other traffic safety concerns with The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Check out the latest AAA-related news and studies


Sign up and receive updates for all of the latest articles on automotive, travel, money, lifestyle and so much more!

Leave A Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and may or may not be published at the editor’s discretion. Only comments that are relevant to the article and add value to the Your AAA community will be considered. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.