Study: Automation's Intended Use
June 20, 2019—A recent study by researchers from IIHS and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab found that, for the most part, drivers use the technology where it was intended, though they may not be using it enough to have a measurable effect on safety, and some individuals may be using the systems on roads they weren't designed for.
For the study, a project of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Consortium, volunteer drivers spent four weeks driving either a Range Rover Evoque with adaptive cruise control or a Volvo S90 with adaptive cruise control and Pilot Assist, a Level 2 system that enhances the adaptive cruise control with lane centering. During the study, the S90 underwent a software update that improved the lane centering, so the researchers looked separately at those who drove the S90 before the update and those who drove it after.
Like most driving automation in currently available vehicles, these systems are meant to be used on interstates and other freeways.
In the study, 40 percent of interstate and other freeway miles of Evoque drivers were driven using adaptive cruise control. Before the software update, 11 percent of interstate/freeway miles in the S90 were driven with adaptive cruise control alone and another 11 percent were driven with the Level 2 Pilot Assist system. After the update, those numbers were 8 percent and 20 percent, respectively.