Driver-assistance systems hit significantly by heavy rain, study shows

Driver-assistance systems hit significantly by heavy rain, study shows

Oct 14 Reuters - The performance of advanced driver-assistance technology used to help vehicles stay in lanes is significantly reduced by moderate and heavy rain, a study by the American Automobile Association showed on Thursday.

Researchers at AAA, a federation of North American motor clubs, found that vehicles' auto emergency braking systems were not identified in several instances during simulated rainfall, then stopped vehicles ahead and that vehicles' lane-keeping systems performed considerably worse.

That could lead to dangerous situations if drivers rely too heavily on the systems, whose performance is typically evaluated in ideal conditions, the researchers said.

The reality is that people aren't always driving around in perfect, sunny weather, so we must take testing and make into consideration things people actually contend with in their day-to-day driving, Greg Brannon told AAA in a statement.

Advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS, are becoming more common in newer vehicles. They do not offer limited driving, but can automate autonomous driving tasks.

Auto Emergency braking is increasingly provided as standard feature in new cars and has shown to significantly reduce rear-end crashes in tests by insurance groups.

In the AAA study, no test car crashed into a stopped vehicle under ideal conditions. But during dry weather, 17% of test runs resulted in crashes at speeds of 25 mph 40 km h, increasing to 33% at speed of 35 mph 56 km h The pavement during the rain tests was dry and researchers noted wet roads could lead to even higher crash rates.

Vehicles equipped with lane keeping technology crossed lane markers 37% of the time during ideal conditions in the AAA test, but this rate jumped to 69% after rain was added.