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interior of self-driving carSafety demands that drivers educate themselves on automated technologies before they get behind the wheel, writes kinesiology professor Francesco Biondi.

Public needs education on vehicle automation: professor

Before operating a car equipped with autonomous or self-driving features, drivers should familiarize themselves with its capabilities and limitations, says kinesiology professor Francesco Biondi.

“Today’s cars offer a vast selection of driving aids available,” Dr. Biondi writes in an article published Friday in the Conversation, which shares news and views from the academic and research community. But the public is on the fence when it comes to fully relying on them.

He criticizes advertising that exaggerates or overstates the abilities of autonomous technologies.

“Providing inaccurate, or even wrongful, information on how automation works has direct safety consequences,” Biondi says.

“When I buy a dishwasher, what I want is a machine that automates the manual task of washing dishes. What I need to do is just push a button and the machine will do its thing with no additional command or intervention.

“Now, believe it or not, a similar logic applies to automated driving systems. If I am told — or shown or suggested or hinted — that the car might in fact drive itself, what do you expect I, as a human, will do?”

He calls on drivers to learn about a car’s features and how they work while it’s parked.

Read Biondi’s entire piece, “A user’s guide to self-driving cars,” in the Conversation.

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