car steering wheel with no hands on itIn a new article, Francesco Biondi says drivers need to stay attentive and keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road in autonomous vehicles.

Kinesiology professor writes of problems with self-driving vehicles

Car companies oversell the autonomous driving features of their vehicles, leading consumers straight into peril, writes UWindsor kinesiology professor Francesco Biondi in a new article published in The Conversation.

“For years, the automotive industry has hinted at the fact that these systems are more capable than they actually are. For example, referring to these systems with misleading names — like ‘autopilot ‘or ‘self-driving’ — may cause drivers to believe a car can drive without human interventions, while in fact it cannot.”

Dr. Biondi’s research shows some drivers “tune out” when operating autonomous vehicles, especially on straight stretches with little traffic. “This is because drivers may be inclined to believe that these systems are sufficiently advanced to handle such simple driving tasks.”

Furthermore, many car buyers never receive any training on the autonomous or semi-autonomous features of their vehicles at the dealership.

Biondi’s article includes crash statistics, and refers to the U.S. investigation into those involving Teslas. Only days ago, in mid-February, Tesla announced a recall of more than 350,000 vehicles — more than 20,000 of them in Canada — due to a problem with the “full self-driving capability” system.

The Conversation is an online publication featuring articles from academics and researchers around the world. Read Biondi’s article here.

—Sarah Sacheli

Academic Area: