Adaptive Cruisers Should Be Monitored says Auto Innovators

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Auto Innovators) t unveiled safety principles to proactively address driver monitoring systems for Level 2 vehicles, in which both lane centering and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) are simultaneously engaged. These features can help save lives by assisting drivers and reducing the potential for human error that could result in a crash. They are not designed to operate independently of a human driver.

“Through these principles, automakers representing nearly 99 percent of the new vehicles sold in the U.S. have made a forceful and public statement on the importance of effective driver monitoring for Level 2 automated systems,” said Auto Innovators President and CEO John Bozzella. “It is critical that consumers learn and understand the benefits—and limitations—of these features to build and improve confidence in these proven safety technologies.

“There is strong and clear interest from our member companies in reiterating the importance of effective driver monitoring systems in Level 2 vehicles to help ensure appropriate driver engagement and improving consumer confidence in driving automation.  There is no commercially available ‘self-driving’ car on American roadways today, which means the driver remains the most important factor in any vehicle,” said Bozzella.

“We look forward to working with policymakers and other stakeholders to advance the conversation around Level 2 driver monitoring in a meaningful way,” he added.

The principles outlined by Auto Innovators are focused on driver monitoring systems for purposes of determining or inferring when a driver is not paying sufficient attention to the driving environment.  The principles are broken down into several key areas, including consumer information, driver monitoring as a standard feature for Level 2 systems, driver warnings, re-engaging the driver, misuse and abuse, and camera-based systems. They incorporate important recommendations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Consumer Reports, National Transportation Safety Board, and EuroNCAP.

The principles address areas including:

Consumer Information

The Level 2 system name should reasonably reflect the functionality of that Level 2 system and not imply greater capability. The Level 2 system information, including promotional materials,should reasonably reflect the functionality of the system. This may include (but is not necessarilylimited to): any Level 2 specific capabilities or limitations, the responsibility of the driver, the Operational Design Domain2, and whether or not the driver’s performance of one or more of thedriving tasks while the Level 2 system is engaged (within its Operational Design Domain) results in the disengagement of the system. The Level 2 system should, at all times, convey informationto the driver on the status of the system such that a driver can reasonably discern whether the Level 2 system is engaged or disengaged.1 These examples are included to illustrate the variety of current sensing methods and are not intended to be a comprehensive list, particularly as new methods and technologies may be introduced in the future.2 Operating conditions under which a given driving automation system or feature thereof is specifically designed to function,including, but not limited to, environmental, geographical, and time-of-day restrictions, and/or the requisite presence orabsence of certain traffic or roadway characteristics.

Driver Monitoring as a Standard Feature

A driver monitoring system should be provided as a standard feature in any vehicle that is equipped with a Level 2 system in which both lane centering and ACC can be simultaneously engaged. The driver monitoring system should be active when the Level 2 feature is engaged.Since it is important that the driver of a Level 2 vehicle be attentive to the surrounding driving environment at all times, the driver monitoring system should be designed such that the driver monitoring system cannot be disengaged or disabled while the Level 2 feature is engaged.

Driver Warnings

If a driver monitoring system determines or infers that the driver is not engaged in the driving task, then an initial warning should be issued within a reasonable amount of time from when a system detects the driver is not engaged. For example, for a vehicle equipped with a Level 2system that is designed to be “hands on,” if the driver does not satisfy the system’s “hands on”criteria, the driver monitoring system should issue an initial warning, i.e., request for the driver to re-engage in the driving task. The time elapsed between the detection of the disengaged driver to the request for that driver to re-engage should be minimized. If the driver does not respond to the initial warning from the driver monitoring system, subsequent warnings should escalate and include, at a minimum, some combination of visual and non-visual (auditory orhaptic) alerts.

Re-engaging the Driver

The driver monitoring system should only terminate the warning(s) if the system detects that the driver has appropriately re-engaged based on the system design, for example by putting his or her hands back on the wheel or returning his or her eyes to the road. If the driver does not respond to the escalated warnings from the driver monitoring system, the vehicle should take a  corrective action, such as disengaging the Level 2 system, increasing the ACC headway distance, or coming to a safe stop. Any such action should include a clear combination of visual and audible alerts regarding the status of the system and vehicle.Misuse and AbuseThe potential for driver misuse or abuse of a system should be evaluated as part of the design process for driver monitoring systems.

Camera-Based Systems

An in-vehicle camera should be further considered as a component of a driver monitoring system for vehicles with Level 2 systems, particularly for more advanced Level 2 systems (such as those with hands-off capabilities) to help identify driver inattention. This consideration should be based upon, among other things, research by industry, academia, government or any combination and should take into account the uniqueness of each manufacturer’s vehicle systems.

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