CMU’s Christoph Mertz comments on Smart Cars and Car Washes

Cars are getting smarter, but not yet smart enough to go through a car wash. Some new cars with semi-autonomous features, like obstacle-detecting sensors and automatic braking systems, are being activated by the brushes and curtains inside a car wash, immobilizing the vehicle or even causing it to veer off the rails and collide with another car. What makes the problem worse is that every fancy new car has a different way of disabling the new features — usually buried deep within the vehicle manual. Who will be responsible for fixing the problem — car manufacturers or car wash owners?