Aug 28, 2019

Drivers turn off "annoying" safety tech

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some motorists are turning off driver safety systems because the technologies are "annoying or bothersome," a J.D. Power consumer study found.

Why it matters: Consumers who disable driver-assistance features are depriving themselves of the safety benefits of the technology, potentially putting themselves and others at risk. Their criticism could also be a red flag for consumer acceptance of self-driving vehicles, writes CNBC.

"If they can't be sold on lane-keeping — a core technology of self-driving — how are they going to accept fully automated vehicles?"
— J.D. Power's Kristin Kolodge

Details: J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Tech Experience Index study found that:

  • 23% of customers with lane-keeping and centering systems complain that the alerts are annoying or bothersome.
  • For these owners, 61% sometimes disable the system.
  • The technologies can "come across as a nagging parent; no one wants to be constantly told they aren’t driving correctly," says Kolodge.

The bottom line: Dealers play an important role in teaching buyers about their car's safety technologies, but owners need to be able to trust that the systems will kick in when they are supposed to. Their first experience with lower-level automation will affect how they view self-driving cars in the future.

Go deeper

CEO indictment hangs over latest startup Pronto.ai

Anthony Levandowski at the Mobile World Congress in February 2017. Photo: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Tuesday's indictment of former Uber executive Anthony Levandowski for allegedly stealing trade secrets when he worked at Google puts his latest self-driving technology company, Pronto.ai, in a tough spot.

The big picture: The San Francisco-based startup, believed to be funded mostly by Levandowski himself, has been working on aftermarket kits to outfit heavy-duty trucks with driver-assistance technology.

Go deeperArrowAug 28, 2019

Tech's talent war forces self-driving car companies to get creative

Software designers can work almost anywhere, but writing code for a self-driving car tends to be a hands-on exercise — engineers need to directly experience how a vehicle performs and hone software as needed.

The big picture: Companies that design autonomous vehicles are maturing and beginning to rethink that convention. There's a war for talent across all tech industries, requiring AV companies to get creative to attract the top experts.

Go deeperArrowSep 13, 2019

Feds spend $60 million for AV tests on public roads

A Ford Argo AI test vehicle being tested in downtown Detroit. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday announced nearly $60 million in federal grants to 8 automated driving projects in 7 states.

Why it matters: The projects will help communities gather significant safety data that will be shared with the agency to help shape future regulations on self-driving cars.

Go deeperArrowSep 18, 2019