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Driving Assist Technologies - How Much is Too Much?!

By: Dr. Mo Esgandari


The recent advances in automotive technology has provided us with the tremendously safer vehicles and for the most part easier driving as well. Emergency braking systems to avoid forward collision or pedestrian impact, rear corner radar systems to detect cross traffic and reversing emergency brake assist, use of braking systems for stability control / traction control, lane keep warning and assist, adaptive / active cruise control and use of brake to adjust distance, etc. The list is endless. These are all wonderful technologies which have certainly saved lives and avoided costly accidents.


However, I think there is a debate on how much “assist” is the right level, specially before entering the fully autonomous driving phase. Majority of the vehicles on the road these days are not capable of being fully autonomous or even being autonomous for a short period of time. This means there is an active requirement for driver supervision and intervention. This is the moment I’m focusing on. How much of this intervention is to work alongside the systems assisting the driving, and how much of that is to correct and even mitigate the system’s effort which are deemed not to be in the right direction by the driver?


Part of this debate is on the effectiveness or accuracy of the systems. Surely the capabilities and the tuning of the system plays a major role in the level of corrective interventions required. For example, when you’re using active cruise control and changing lane, and all of a sudden get an abrupt braking to maintain the gap between the vehicles. Having tried this system in various vehicles, I’ve seen how some systems are tuned to be less aggressive in adjusting this gap which makes the overall driving less stressful.


What other examples you have experienced where you think the technology hasn’t delivered? Do you think it is based on system capability, design and tuning, or other reasons? Please use the comments section to share your experience and discuss !



Dr Mo Esgandari has over a decade of experience in Brake NVH research & development and has published in various academic journals. Mo also has a comprehensive hands-on automotive design and engineering experience delivering various vehicle programmes. Mo is a member of and one of the instructors on Brake Academy.

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