Automated cars ‘increase SMIDSY crashes’

Tesla detects lane filtering riders automated

Hi-tech automated cars make drivers lazy and less likely to see motorcycles which could lead to an increase in Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You (SMIDSY) crashes, a new study has found.

Rice University and Texas Tech University studied 60 drivers over a 40-minute drive in a “simulated partially automated vehicle” and found their hazard perception decreased.

Partially automated vehicles are those with sensors that detect hazards and apply drive aids such as steering and brake application to avoid a collision.

These systems don’t totally take over, so the driver need to monitor for hazards and react to them by taking avoidance action.

Automated complacency

However, the study found that drivers in these vehicles depend on the tech and become complacent, losing attention to the road ahead and its various hazards.

The study found that “safe operation becomes less likely when the demands associated with monitoring automation increase and as a drive extends in duration”.

So the longer they drive, the worse their inattention and complacency becomes.

“This study also supports the notion that vigilance performance in partially automated vehicles is likely due to driver overload,” according to the study, “Driver Vigilance in Automated Vehicles: Effects of Demands on Hazard Detection Performance,” in the publication Human Factors.

It’s not good news for motorcyclists who are already largely unseen by motorists.

And as more and more tech is included in cars, it could get worse, says study lead author Eric Greenlee, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Texas Tech.

“The bottom line is, until automated driving systems are completely reliable and can respond in all situations, the driver must stay alert and be prepared to take over,” he says.

“These vehicles have a lot to offer, but we’re a long way from being able to detect everything going on,” the researchers say.

“Until that day comes, we hope this research will raise awareness about the limitations of automated cars and their operators.”Riders ‘risk cancer from autonomous cars positive automated

Death knell

However, a 2017 US report by a motorcycle industry panel, cleverly called Give a Shift, says automated vehicles could kill off motorcycling.

“There is a “very real risk of motorcycling being completely cut out of the conversation for future vehicle infrastructure systems,” the group concludes in its report.

“As this (autonomous vehicles) technology grows, contemporary motorcycles will be even further elevated into higher risk categories in the eyes of traffic systems technologies, insurance companies, city planners and autonomous vehicle manufacturers who currently own and direct the conversation.

“The panel feels strongly that the single biggest threat to motorcycling overall (particularly in urban and higher density environments) will be the incompatibility between autonomous vehicles and existing motorcycles.”

The group says the technology will push self-operated vehicles such as motorcycles “out of the transportation matrix”.

6 Comments

  1. I feared the end of motorcycles a while ago with this new technology. Wasn’t met with much concern back then. I hope I am wrong. It could be great for motorcycles if done correctly, however I expect the tech companies will find it too hard and push for the end of motorcycling.

  2. What bikes need is a radio frequency projector that activates the cars detection system. Just like the cars have a radio frequency detection system. The projector on the bike will alert the car to the presence of the motorbike.

    1. Now that Kenneth mentions it, it would be surprising if there were not some kind of ability for emergency vehicles (human controlled or automated) to travel at higher speeds and be equipped with transmitters to send specially recognised signals to force automated vehicles ahead to pull over or otherwise make room.
      Sounds like a fine accessory to surreptitiously have on a future motorcycle. Somebody will figure out a way.

      1. Planes and some ships already have a system like this called IFF that allows automatic tracking of vehicles. I wouldn’t be surprised if its introduced to road vehicles at some point in the future possibly using the number plate details as a unique identifier.

  3. It sounds like M/C Manufacturers need to get on the ball. There has to be a passive and inexpensive means by which Motorcycles can be “seen” by these systems.

  4. “The group says the technology will push self-operated vehicles such as motorcycles “out of the transportation matrix”.

    Blasphemers ! Stone them, stone them now. Also I think that their opinion is a bit off the mark.

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