The technology of cars and the difficulty of users to understand what it is about

Driving aids in modern cars make life easier for the driver, but if you don’t understand exactly how they work, confusion can have unexpected consequences.

Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) or Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) ). Any of those definitions correspond to the same function of modern cars: Electronic stability control.

The reason why they are called in different ways is basically a question of marketing. And it doesn’t just happen with that driving assistance system, you can also find different ways of calling the traction control, which in one brand can be Traction Control System (TCS), in another Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) and in another Electronic Differential Slippery (EDS), and although in one the differential acts and in another it does not, the result is the same.

Stability control is one of the systems that has many different names, although the same function
Stability control is one of the systems that has many different names, although the same function

And if you were to follow the list of functions called differently, you could find different versions of the same thing in things like Emergency Brake Assist, or electronic brake force distribution, and so much more. Without going further, this freedom to name electronic systems as each manufacturer best sees fit, has led Tesla to call its autonomous driving assistant Autopilot, when that represents something that it is not, since the car cannot be piloted completely on its own as that name implies, but it is a level 2 of autonomous driving, which requires the driver to keep their hands on the wheel permanently.

Technology has given cars the ability to make life easier for drivers with an ever-increasing level of precision and efficiency, and although it is arguable whether so much assistance will not end up being detrimental because users get used to not doing things that were previously part of their duties behind the wheel, There’s no denying that on the road to autonomous driving, those advances are critical.

But in order to correctly use this technology, understand it, know what functions it fulfills and, above all, learn to differentiate whether a certain function is present or not in a car, it is necessary to make it easier to identify them. A group of entities and consultants from the world of engineering and the automotive industryare trying to change the way of identifying each system that makes up the known ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)precisely so that consumers can register them without having to carry a technical dictionary in the glove compartment.

The emergency braking assistant, if its existence is not known, can cause great scares at the wheel.  It is common for many drivers to brake closer to another car than the system considers normal, so it will act immediately
The emergency braking assistant, if its existence is not known, can cause great scares at the wheel. It is common for many drivers to brake closer to another car than the system considers normal, so it will act immediately

“The terminology used by automakers to describe ADAS features varies widely, and this can confuse consumers and make it difficult to understand vehicle functions”This group, made up of the American Automobile Association (AAA), the consulting firms Consumer Reports and JD Power, the National Safety Council and SAE International, said in a press release.

“Furthermore, when the capabilities of vehicle safety features are exaggerated or misrepresented with marketing language designed to attract buyers, consumers can trust these systems too much. Establishing a common language for ADAS helps ensure that drivers are fully aware that these systems assist but do not replace a driver.”

Adaptive Cruise Control measures the distance to the car in front and maintains it.  The previous cruise control did not and required the driver to deactivate it by stepping on the brake or operating it from the steering wheel
Adaptive Cruise Control measures the distance to the car in front and maintains it. The previous cruise control did not and required the driver to deactivate it by stepping on the brake or operating it from the steering wheel

Many will say that when a person buys a car, he should know exactly what its equipment is about, and although many people only look for the car to be a mere means of personal transportation and do not pay attention to the meaning of each button, there are situations in which that technical knowledge cannot be acquired, such as when renting a vehicle or working in a company with a fleet of different models and brands.

And again an example is worth to clarify the concept. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is not the same as Cruise Control (CC), since the first maintains the distance with the car that precedes its own and accelerates or decelerates as that reference is modified, while the second does not, it simply maintains a constant speed and its driver is the one who must take control if it approaches another car . There will be no problem if the driver believes that he has to be aware of a slowdown in traffic to deactivate it, but if the opposite situation occurs, an accident can occur.

Lane monitoring, blind spot monitoring and cruise control often work together in many systems, but separately in others
Lane monitoring, blind spot monitoring and cruise control often work together in many systems, but separately in others

This group of agencies and consultants has decided to request that at least stickers be required to be placed on car windows, with precise information detailing the qualities of their equipment, as a way of facilitating user understanding. That could be a solution if drivers pay attention to it, and in that case there will be those who pay attention and those who don’t, but at least the responsibility will be exclusively of the inattentive or uninformed user, and not of a system that generates confusion due to so many different nomenclatures.

Another option, beyond the name that is given to each system or assistant according to the brand, would be to unify the way of graphing it on the buttons or the indications of the panel, and once learned, it will be like the signals that everyone already knows, such as handbrake, beacon, high beams, etc.

What is certain is that cars will no longer have the simplicity of before, we will have to learn to manage them and use their technology for safer transit.

KEEP READING

KTM launches to conquer the routes with a car designed only for public roads
Unexpected scheduling issues plague Chinese drivers
How the electric car works that absorbs CO2 while it works

Leave a Comment