The problem with today’s driverless car technology is the drivers

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.