At first, the industry called them self-driving cars until people got scared. No one wanted to imagine roads filled with unmanned cars. We just weren’t ready. Now, the automotive industry is calling them autonomous vehicles and not even that – they are called “semi-autonomous,” a reminder that this isn’t a hands-off driving revolution—at least not yet. Based on these shifts in language, there’s absolutely no doubt no that self-driving vehicles are not going to replace the need for a human being behind the wheel, at least not for many years to come.
Semi-autonomous vehicles and their manufacturers have, for the most part, named their autonomous systems in a way to emphasize that the new technology is only there to assist, not commandeer. What makes them “self-driving” is these vehicles have the capability of giving you another set of eyes –or several sets of eyes–with cameras that can see off to the side, to the back and to the front, and where blind spots often cause accidents. Some even have cameras in the rearview mirrors.
Backup cameras are now mandatory on all new cars so 2018’s new fleet of semi-autonomous vehicles is just going a step or two further. Sensors are improving, even enough to steer without manual prompts, but we’re still not ready for hands-off driving by any means.
At the LA Auto Show, which showcased all the latest advancements in technology this year, several cars were showcased as the pioneers in semi-autonomous cruising, braking and steering. Here’s a look at 9 semi-autonomous vehicles that have autonomous driving features that make driving safer and less of an effort.
AUDI Traffic Jam Assist
Audi added a Traffic Jam Assist to the A8 sedan, a Level 3 autonomous system that allows the car to take full control over driving. At 37 miles per hour, drivers are free to be distracted with texts or whatever else they may want to do for a few minutes. Yes, it will steer, accelerate and brake on its own. It will also come to complete stops and start up again as you sit in traffic.
Cadillac’s “SuperCruise” system on the CT6 sedan is hands-free but is only a Level 2 autonomous system because the driver’s attention is still required. Still, Cadillac bills itself as the “world’s first true hands-free driving system.” The car is supposed to allow for autonomous driving for hours without a problem, but only if the route is on Cadillac’s pre-mapped routes. Not bad, right?
As expected, Tesla’s Autopilot is the boldest contender in the autonomous vehicle race. It’s definitely up at the top of the list with Cadillac’s Super Cruise. Due to government regulations, Tesla no longer makes it so that drivers can leave their hands off the steering wheel for very long, but compared with some of the other semi-autonomous cars, it allows the longest amount of time with hands-off steering. This car can steer, break, change lanes, and even take corners when your hands are completely free. The Model S has many cameras, radar and sonar gadgets as well as software updates. There’s a reason the Model S is thought of as a pioneer in technological advancements and the years of research are paying off.
Nissan’s ProPilot driving assist system is available in the 2018 Leaf and 2018 Infinity Q50 sedan. The system can accelerate and brake based on your settings and the activity of other vehicles ahead. While the car can also self-steer, your hands must be on the steering wheel at all times. Otherwise, you’ll get a warning signal. The ProPilot also helps keep you centered in your lane without much effort.
LEXUS Safety Sense
The Lexus Safety Sense System is also impressive and it is Toyota’s solid entrance into the scene. It includes automatic braking as well as steering. This Level 4 autonomy only works when the driver disengages. This pre-collision system detects pedestrians using a radar and camera. It will slow down as it approaches objects/pedestrians in the distance. If the driver doesn’t brake, the car will!
BMW Traffic Jam Assistant
BMW’s Traffic Jam Assistant is a semi-autonomous system that is a great relief for those who sit in traffic for long periods of time. At low speeds, Traffic Jam Assistant can steer, brake, accelerate and pretty much take care of everything. Your hands have to be on the wheel, however, even if they aren’t doing much at all.
MERCEDES-BENZ Drive Pilot
The Drive Pilot allows autonomous driving, lane changing and changing speeds but only when road conditions are not a potential for accidents. Like most of the other semi-autonomous cars, you must have your hands on the wheel for the Mercedes Drive Pilot to function, but you can take your hands off for up to 45 seconds, so it still fares better than most of the others in its class, except maybe Tesla.
VOLVO Pilot Assist
This autonomous system works similarly to Tesla’s and Mercedes-Benz’s systems. The Pilot Assist offers autonomous driving with little response from the driver (though there is some required). It will steer, take corners and accelerate/slow down based on vehicle traffic in front.
The 2018 Infiniti Q50 debuted the brand’s self-driving system, which, like all the other manufacturers, is more of an assistance system. The QX80 goes even farther with new technology. The vehicle is fully equipped with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warnings, forward emergency braking, lane departure warnings and blind spot warnings. It even has a camera in the rearview mirror to alert you of drivers behind you.
Even though semi-autonomous vehicles are sure to lessen the number of accidents on the road, these vehicles still need to be protected with the proper insurance. Because of all the expensive cameras and sensors, an accident will be very costly, so it’s important to have the right amount of coverage if you own or plan to own one of these vehicles. Speak with a trusted Insurance Specialist about your options and get multiple quotes for the car you own or plan to buy: (888) 772-4247