There has been much ado about Tesla drivers failing to understand the limits of their advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), and more specifically Autopilot, but it turns out they aren’t the only ones tempted into the back seats of their vehicles.
The driver of a Peugeot 508 has proven that anyone can be fooled into believing that ADAS systems, such as lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control, amount to an autonomous driving system. He discovered that they don’t.
The Peugeot has a pressure sensor, which is common in most vehicles. This ensures that the driver can still hold the wheel. The system was not designed to do this, but it could be used to trick a YouTuber who carries a waterbottle.
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The system behaves pretty much as you’d expect, keeping the car on the road until any complication presents itself, and then fails spectacularly. The car becomes confused when it encounters an offramp and pulls off of the road too far, resulting in the vehicle being pushed into a ditch.
From the rear seat, the driver can do nothing but become a pinball bouncing around the interior of the vehicle, presumably injuring himself more than he would have if he’d been belted into any seat.
And while this driver certainly was asking for trouble, the incident is a clear indicator that the automotive industry as a whole hasn’t managed to get the message across to buyers that these systems do not in any way provide autonomous driving. These systems are open to possible misuse, regardless of their failsafes being built in. According to a report, almost all American vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems can be tricked into allowing drivers to get up from their chairs.
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