Yolanda Vazquez: As driver assistance technology becomes more advanced…researchers are looking at ways to evaluate its safety when you’re behind the wheel. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is conducting a preliminary round of tests to better analyze advanced driver assistance systems. They’re looking at how adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, and active lane-keeping features operate on the track and on the street. The “track tests” focus on how the technology works in a controlled environment, while the “street tests” evaluate how the systems handle more complex driving situations. Curves and hills are proving to be the most challenging for active lane-keeping systems because sensors can lose sight of the lane markings. They’re also seeing how well vehicles automatically slow down and activate “emergency braking” in traffic. 

Right now, the IIHS is evaluating systems from four manufacturers: BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Volvo. So far the assistive technology systems in both the BMW and Mercedes perform best on the track, while none of the systems are stellar on the street. The IIHS is not ready to say which one has the safest Level 2 driver assistance technology overall. And, they also point out that until Level 5 “full autonomy” is on the market, drivers must remain alert and in control.

Educating the public on the benefits of electric vehicles. It’s part of an advertising effort by Electrify America to give consumers a fuller picture of the current EV experience. The 30-second TV spot, called Jetstones uses theme songs from “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons”—to take a humorous look at how driving an EV has changed from the past to the present. The segment features electric vehicles from six automakers. The goal is to show the increased range, affordable cost and easy availability of the vehicles—with a growing network of EV fast chargers. We’re amped up about the prospects for more EV adoption as automakers continue to make investments in this “promising” sector of the automotive market. That’s the latest for this week’s Motor News.