Currently reading: Driver assist tech needs standard failure warning, says UK insurance body
UK insurance group Thatcham is concerned at safety systems that leave drivers in the dark when they need repairs
Autocar
News
3 mins read
9 March 2020

UK insurance body Thatcham is calling for a standardised warning light for all cars fitted with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to alert drivers when they are not working correctly.

The systems – which include autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance – generally do not issue warnings if they malfunction, leaving drivers unaware.

Thatcham’s chief technical officer, Richard Billyeald, said he was lobbying manufacturers to fit a uniform signal to flag up faults with any such system.

“What we’re asking for is a standardised warning light,” he said, “so that, for whatever reason, if any sort of ADAS system has reduced performance or functionality… there is a light – like you would get if your ABS or your airbag had a problem – that says ‘go and get it looked at’.”

The systems typically rely on radar and lidar scanners and sensors, usually housed in the vehicle’s bumpers and behind the windscreen. It is possible to knock them out of alignment, and repairs and recalibrations can be difficult to diagnose and execute.

“Say you park your car in Tesco car park and someone reverses into it,” said Pete Eden, national business process and technical manager at the National Body Repair Association. “If they can’t see any damage because the bumper’s gone in then sprung back out again – because that’s what they’re designed to do – there might be a radar or a lidar behind it that’s been pushed or the bracket has been bent.

“That lidar reads 100 yards away and it has only got to be a degree or two out and, all of a sudden, it’s reading the road six feet in front of the car – and you wouldn’t know.”

He added that simple body repairs and even certain types of metallic paint could be enough to corrupt a system. “The bumper acts as a refractor for the signal – like a satellite dish. It [the signal] hits the bumper and it’s thrown out at 45 degrees but, if the bumper has a load of filler in it, the signal can’t get through,” said Eden.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Back to top

“The metal content [of certain paints] doesn’t allow the signal to refract. Gold is the most well known for it because of its high metallic presence and, if a car has just had another coat of paint, the signal might not get back because there’s too much paint on the bumper.”

The systems represent a grey area for insurers, both regarding sufficient repair standards and, if they are not working, establishing fault after an accident. Billyeald said Thatcham would imminently release a publication clarifying the insurance industry’s requirements around repairs, which follows its launch of an ADAS calibration training course for vehicle technicians in October 2019.

“This year, we’ll be releasing what we’re calling the UK Insurance Requirement for the Safe Repair of Vehicles with ADAS,” he said.

“We’ve come up with a set of requirements and, rather than trying to get it written into legislation, it’s a reasonably simple route for insurers to say ‘this is what we want to see’ with repairs.”

Jack Carfrae

READ MORE

Why the arrival of fully autonomous cars reflects the slow rise of the robot 

Analysis: When will self-driving cars be a reality? 

Autonomous car trials: Are they smart or reckless?

Join the debate

Comments
12

9 March 2020

 This shouldn't be hard to implement, I'm sure the Boff8ns in any car brand can come up ethical a solution, and the cost shouldn't be passed on to the customer.

9 March 2020

You could call it the Garage Cash In Button.   On a more serious note why not have the OPTION, plus £2000 cash in your pocket, not to have this crap installed in the first place

9 March 2020

But you do have a warning system - it's called 'eye' and you'll find it adjacent to your nose.

What is Thatcham actually suggesting? Are they saying that the use of such systems is resulting in drivers being less aware of their surroundings?

Unless we adopt some fixed rail-type system - ie. rails, electric cables, magnetic strips etc, I find it hard to believe fully autonomous vehicles will ever be the norm - there's just too many complications. We're nowhere near that point, yet I'm being told the result of using the wrong paint might cause an error!  We're going to get to the stage that if you have even a minor accident, a car will be in danger of being written off due to repair costs. ( We're almost there already! ).

The question has to be asked, do such systems provide a real-life improvement in accidents or are they simply a token gesture for folk who like toys and the accountants? There's no doubt about it, your eyes are off the road more in a Tesla than they are in a Dacia.

 

9 March 2020
scotty5 wrote:

What is Thatcham actually suggesting? Are they saying that the use of such systems is resulting in drivers being less aware of their surroundings?p>

I think thats exactly the problem. All these systems are supposed to be 'assistants' but I'm sure a lot of people see them as something that will get them out of trouble, and so they're happy just to rely on them. I remember an AE journalist a few years ago bemoaning the random ineffectiveness of a Volvo blind spot monitor, saying that it meant he actually had to look for himself....
There are a lot of things about todays cars, dark tinted glass, high windowlines, lack of rear visibility, distracting touch controls, which all mean that drivers are isolated from their surroundings and seemingly unaware of the outside world. As an illustration, I think its fair to say that you rarely see a convertible with its roof lowered being driven in a totally reckless manner.

9 March 2020
scotty5 wrote:

But you do have a warning system - it's called 'eye' and you'll find it adjacent to your nose.

What is Thatcham actually suggesting? Are they saying that the use of such systems is resulting in drivers being less aware of their surroundings?

Unless we adopt some fixed rail-type system - ie. rails, electric cables, magnetic strips etc, I find it hard to believe fully autonomous vehicles will ever be the norm - there's just too many complications. We're nowhere near that point, yet I'm being told the result of using the wrong paint might cause an error!  We're going to get to the stage that if you have even a minor accident, a car will be in danger of being written off due to repair costs. ( We're almost there already! ).

The question has to be asked, do such systems provide a real-life improvement in accidents or are they simply a token gesture for folk who like toys and the accountants? There's no doubt about it, your eyes are off the road more in a Tesla than they are in a Dacia.

 

. We have to admit cars are safer less deaths and serious accidents, the figures are there to prove it. What worries me is there are too many safety features and yes there are drivers out there who totally trust all of them, they blithely assume that the safety tech will save them.

9 March 2020
Peter Cavellini wrote:
scotty5 wrote:

But you do have a warning system - it's called 'eye' and you'll find it adjacent to your nose.

What is Thatcham actually suggesting? Are they saying that the use of such systems is resulting in drivers being less aware of their surroundings?

Unless we adopt some fixed rail-type system - ie. rails, electric cables, magnetic strips etc, I find it hard to believe fully autonomous vehicles will ever be the norm - there's just too many complications. We're nowhere near that point, yet I'm being told the result of using the wrong paint might cause an error!  We're going to get to the stage that if you have even a minor accident, a car will be in danger of being written off due to repair costs. ( We're almost there already! ).

The question has to be asked, do such systems provide a real-life improvement in accidents or are they simply a token gesture for folk who like toys and the accountants? There's no doubt about it, your eyes are off the road more in a Tesla than they are in a Dacia.

 

. We have to admit cars are safer less deaths and serious accidents, the figures are there to prove it. What worries me is there are too many safety features and yes there are drivers out there who totally trust all of them, they blithely assume that the safety tech will save them.

The main reason you're less likely to be killed or injured in a car these days is due to compulsory seat belt wearing, air bags, safety cells etc not lane assistance, adaptive cruise control etc.
You could save alot more lives by making minimum thread depth 3.00 and not 1.60mm and/or making visiblity better etc

9 March 2020
xxxx wrote:

The main reason you're less likely to be killed or injured in a car these days is due to compulsory seat belt wearing, air bags, safety cells etc not lane assistance, adaptive cruise control etc.
You could save alot more lives by making minimum thread depth 3.00 and not 1.60mm and/or making visiblity better etc

Doesn’t have to be an either/or. Yes, 1.6mm is too low. Yes improved visibility is better, etc. Improved safety should be a constant process, and not restricted.

But... what’s wrong with these systems if they’re accurate and reliable? Fact is some people are bad drivers, and yes some will over trust the systems. The auto braking systems have had a huge effect on reducing rear end low speed shunts - have you never run into the back of someone, had someone stall at a junction, or had to brake harder than you’d want on occasion? Some of the systems aren’t great yet - lane warning systems are annoying and next to useless. These systems are part of the way towards car to car communication in the future and are essential for real world learning.

Not perfect, but I have a Model 3 and the autopilot is a long way from perfect, but it’s still very impressive considering poor road markings, dark, traffic cones, etc. And no I don’t rely on it, I’m just curious how close it is to being a workable system in real life.

9 March 2020

If you have these hi-tech systems in your cars, as more and more cars do as standard, then it is common sense that indicators should exist to warn you if they are not working as they should or have malfunctioned in any way. 

The request is not unreasonable. Scrarcastic comments about eyes and noses don't help the conversation. These devices are designed to be extentions of your senses and you'd want them functioning properly and fully! 

9 March 2020

I don't have a car with all that stuff but that's not the point, the point is that some young whipper snapper(s) is/are going to just pull out in front of you (or whatever ) and colide because they no longer use mirror, signal, manouvre..position, speed, look (already sounds old fashioned doesn't it) and just pulls out and the system doesn't respond either because it is broken or it just failed to "see" the problem, this will become an increasing problem as more new drivers enter the system.

9 March 2020
405line wrote:

I don't have a car with all that stuff but that's not the point, the point is that some young whipper snapper(s) is/are going to just pull out in front of you (or whatever ) and colide because they no longer use mirror, signal, manouvre..position, speed, look (already sounds old fashioned doesn't it) and just pulls out and the system doesn't respond either because it is broken or it just failed to "see" the problem, this will become an increasing problem as more new drivers enter the system.

What are you talking about ? It aint just young people that "no longer use mirror, signal, manouvre..position, speed, look" its most people, of all ages.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week