Nearly all autonomous features available on showroom floors today are still at Level 2. Cars can park themselves and monitor lane lines, but watching the road should still be a human task. Still, some drivers assume Level 2 vehicles can “take control,” like when a Tesla driver with a high blood alcohol content said his car was doing the driving.
There’s a crucial switch between Level 2, partial automation, and Level 3, conditional automation — responsibility for monitoring the driving environment becomes the car’s problem, not the driver’s. Claybrook said driverless technology is at a dangerous moment, where drivers don’t quite understand what their car’s system means.
“The interplay between humans and technology, technology being in control of driving, puts us at a risk. Driver distraction could have been a deadly factor in the Tesla crash [with the firetruck],” Claybrook said.