IIHS Announces Autonomous Vehicle Safety Rating System
Jan. 24, 2022—The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Thursday announced it is creating a new rating system that judges how well systems in partially autonomous vehicles alert drivers and help them stay focused on the road.
The institute will award ratings of good, acceptable, marginal and poor. Systems will need to ensure that a driver is attentive and ready to grab the steering wheel at all times, as well as provide rapidly escalating alerts when the driver fails to meet those conditions, in order to receive a "good" rating.
“Partial automation systems may make long drives seem like less of a burden, but there is no evidence that they make driving safer,” IIHS President David Harkey said in an IIHS report. “In fact, the opposite may be the case if systems lack adequate safeguards.”
The institute expecting to release its first set of ratings sometime this year, though a precise timeline is not available as "ongoing supply chain woes ... have made it more difficult to obtain vehicles for testing."
IIHS in its report calls out misleading messaging from manufacturers that makes drivers assume that a vehicle is more autonomous than it actually is and says drivers in all vehicles have to be ready to take over in case of an emergency.
"Nobody knows when we’ll have true self-driving cars, if ever. As automakers add partial automation to more and more vehicles, it’s imperative that they include effective safeguards that help drivers keep their heads in the game,” says Harkey.