Insurance companies in the United Kingdom say the auto industry needs to make a clear and fundamental distinction between ‘Assisted’ and ‘Automated’ autonomous driving systems. The industry is on a path to building vehicles that increasingly will drive themselves but aren’t there yet, requiring drivers to periodically retake vehicle control. The Association of British Insurers, saying it supports the move to autonomy, warned in a document meant for international regulators against ‘autonomous ambiguity.’ Thatcham Research CEO Peter Shaw, a participant in the paper, said driver-assist and autonomous vehicles are fast emerging “and unless clearly regulated, could convince drivers that their car is more capable than it actually is. This risk of autonomous ambiguity could result in a short-term increase in crashes.”

Thatcham Research warns that assisted-driving systems could cause a spike in crashes because drivers will overestimate their capabilities. (PHOTO: THATCHAM)

Where’s the line between ‘Assisted’ driving and ‘autonomous’?