Vehicle Owners’ Experiences with and Reactions to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

This report presents the results of a survey of over 1,200 owners of vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The data reflects owners’ opinions about, understanding of, and experiences with the ADAS technologies.

September 2018

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

Tamra Johnson
202-942-2079
TRJohnson@national.aaa.com

Authors

Ashley McDonald

Cher Carney

Daniel V. McGehee

Abstract

Introduction

Many new vehicles available for consumers to purchase today offer advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technologies designed to improve the convenience and safety of driving by warning the driver that a crash is imminent or by temporarily automating certain aspects of vehicle control such as acceleration, braking or steering. As these technologies become more available to motorists, they have the potential to reduce rates of crashes, injuries and deaths on our roadways. However, that potential will not be realized fully unless consumers accept these technologies, understand how to use them, use them as intended, and avoid misusing or becoming overreliant on them.

The purpose of the study was to examine experiences with, opinions about and understanding of specific ADAS technologies by surveying the registered owners of selected model year 2016 and 2017 vehicles equipped with technologies of interest, which included forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), lane keeping assist (LKA), blind spot monitoring (BSM), rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) and adaptive cruise control (ACC).

Key Findings

The majority of drivers generally have favorable impressions of the technologies on their vehicles. For example:

  • At least two in three owners of vehicles with each respective technology reported that they trusted it.
  • More than three in four reported that they found each respective technology useful.
  • At least seven in ten owners indicated they would want each respective technology on their next car and that they would recommend it to others.

However, many respondents demonstrated lack of awareness of the key limitations of the technologies.  For example:

  • Only 21% of owners of vehicles with BSM systems correctly identified inability to detect vehicles passing at very high speeds as a limitation of the system; the remainder expressed various other misconceptions about its function or reported that they were unsure of the system’s limitations.
  • 33% of owners of vehicles with AEB systems did not realize that the system relied on cameras or sensors that could be blocked by dirt, ice, or snow.

The data also provided some suggestive evidence of some potentially-unsafe behavioral adaption in response to the technologies. For example:

  • 29% of respondents reported at least occasionally feeling comfortable engaging in other activities while driving with ACC.
  • 30% of owners of vehicles with BSM systems reported at least sometimes relying on the system to the point of changing lanes without visually checking their blind spot.
  • 25% of owners of vehicles with RCTA systems reported at least sometimes backing up without looking over their shoulder.

Methodology

Researchers surveyed the registered owners of selected model year 2016 and 2017 vehicles equipped with technologies of interest.

Vehicles equipped with technologies of interest were identified by cataloguing the ADAS technologies offered as standard or optional equipment on the 194 vehicle makes and models that comprised 99% of the total US market share in 2016. Technologies available on vehicles were catalogued at the trim level by examining the websites and marketing materials of OEMs supplemented with information from automotive websites such as cargurus.com and Edmunds.com in cases in which the technology available on a particular vehicle could not be determined definitively from OEM sources alone.

A sample of 10,000 names and mailing addresses of registered owners of 94 specific vehicle trims identified as including three or more technologies of interest as standard equipment were purchased from IHS Automotive, which compiles a list of registered owners of vehicles in most US states. Owners probability of being included in the survey was roughly proportional to the market share of their vehicle with the exception that owners of vehicles with low market share were slightly oversampled to increase the diversity of vehicles included in the study. These 10,000 vehicle owners were invited by mail to participate in an online survey that included detailed questions about their experiences with, opinions about, and knowledge of the technologies on their vehicles. To avoid excessive respondent burden, owners of vehicles with more than three of the technologies of interest were asked questions about a randomly selected three of their technologies. A total of 1,380 vehicle owners responded to the survey.

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

Tamra Johnson
202-942-2079
TRJohnson@national.aaa.com

Authors

Ashley McDonald

Cher Carney

University of Iowa

Daniel V. McGehee

University of Iowa