Why People Keep Rear-Ending Self-Driving Cars

Excerpt from this article:

But combine that with the fact that the computer was in charge in 22 of those 28 rear-end crashes, and you have reason to believe that the AVs are doing something that makes cars behind them more likely to hit them. Maybe that’s driving herkily-jerkily (as we experienced in a Cruise car in San Francisco in November 2017), or stopping for no clear reason (as we experienced in an Uber car in Pittsburgh last year). That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It indicates a conservative focus on safety: Better to stop for a fire hydrant than run down a preschooler. But part of being a good driver is behaving in a way others expect, which doesn’t include constantly stamping on the brakes.

Advertisements

The Hidden Cost of Touchscreens

Excerpt from this article:

Physical interfaces are crucial for automotive usability. Operations rely on a simple glance or muscle memory. Touchscreens, by contrast, force drivers to look. Because buttons are not fixed to specific locations, screens inhibit muscle memory and findability. Touchscreens compete for attention with the driving process, adding to the dangers of distracted driving.

Serious interfaces — those that are repeatedly used by a knowledgeable professional and/or in potentially hazardous situations, should not be touchscreen based. If a touchscreen must be used, it should be embedded alongside a set of fixed, physical buttons that support muscle memory and single actions.

What’s happening to in-car interfaces now? Five years later, we’re seeing some car models stick to physical buttons and dials, and that’s a great relief.

Deadly Convenience: Keyless Cars and Their Carbon Monoxide Toll

Excerpt from this article:

It seems like a common convenience in a digital age: a car that can be powered on and off with the push of a button, rather than the mechanical turning of a key. But it is a convenience that can have a deadly effect.

On a summer morning last year, Fred Schaub drove his Toyota RAV4 into the garage attached to his Florida home and went into the house with the wireless key fob, evidently believing the car was shut off. Twenty-nine hours later, he was found dead, overcome with carbon monoxide that flooded his home while he slept.