Autonomous driving technology fails in latest AAA safety tests

In a nutshell: AAA recently conducted tests on three vehicles equipped with Active Driving Assistance (Level 2): ​​the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2021 Subaru Forester, and 2020 Tesla Model 3, and the results are not very encouraging in terms of safety.

Each vehicle was able to detect a slow moving dummy vehicle traveling in the same direction as the test vehicle. In each test (five runs per vehicle), the test vehicle applied the brakes and matched the speed of the backup vehicle to avoid impact.

Similarly, all test vehicles were able to detect a simulated cyclist traveling in the same direction and slow down to avoid a collision.

When a dummy car was placed in the same lane to simulate a head-on collision caused by a weakened or distracted driver, the test cars collided with it each time.

The speed of the test car and the simulated oncoming car was 25 mph and 15 mph, respectively—lower than in the real world. Hyundai and Subaru made no attempt to slow down and hit the target without slowing down. Tesla applied the brakes in every test, but still managed to hit the dummy at an average speed of 2.3 mph.

Moreover, the Subaru Forester was unable to detect a simulated cyclist crossing the street in front of it. Both Tesla and Hyundai were able to brake to avoid being hit in this test.

Greg Brannon, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering, said testing them shows that uneven performance is the norm rather than the exception.

AAA’s advice to automakers is simple: listen to consumers and improve existing systems before trying to focus on the future. “You can’t convince consumers of tomorrow if they don’t trust the present,” Brannon added.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters. A Hyundai spokesperson said they are “examining the findings of the AAA report as part of our ongoing commitment to customer safety.” Subaru told the publication that they are looking into the test to better understand the AAA methodology, but have yet to receive a detailed response.

Image credit Riccardo

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