Insurers have urged car manufacturers to be ‘more responsible’ when naming driver assistance systems fitted to their vehicles.

According to the insurance industry’s research lab, Thatcham, the word “autonomous” is being used in manufacturers’ marketing, causing drivers to be lulled into a ‘false sense of security’. The organisation described names such as Tesla’s Autopilot and Nissan’s ProPilot as ‘deeply unhelpful’.

Thatcham has expressed concerns that such technology is in its infancy and, in some cases, motorists may believe it is more capable than it truly is.

Matthew Avery, head of research at Thatcham, said: ‘We are starting to see real-life examples of the hazardous situations that occur when motorists expect the car to drive and function on its own. Specifically, where the technology is taking ownership of more and more of the driving task, but the motorist may not be sufficiently aware that they are still required to take back control in problematic circumstances.

‘Fully automated vehicles that can own the driving task from A to B, with no need for driver involvement whatsoever, won’t be available for many years to come. Until then, drivers remain criminally liable for the safe use of their cars and as such, the capability of current road vehicle technologies must not be oversold.’

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