Insurers warn against ‘autonomous’ term – Institution of Mechanical Engineers responds

Dr Jenifer Baxter, head of engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, has responded to news that car insurers have warned carmakers against the use of the word “autonomous” in their marketing:

“The Institution welcomes the suggestion that car manufacturers should be clearer in their descriptions of new automated and assistive driving technologies. It is evident that confusion exists between what a fully autonomous vehicle can do and the capability of those with assistive driving technologies and this confusion could be dangerous. The Institution has provided details of what these emerging technologies mean for drivers and the table (see picture) shows the different levels of autonomy. Making these distinctions is an important part of communicating the continually changing passenger vehicle environment.

“In 2016, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in our Case Study on Autonomous and Driverless Cars raised the need to address societal questions before highly and fully automated cars are both accepted and legally able to be positioned on our roads. We highlighted that this will include having the right regulatory framework in place, to which I would now add including a public awareness campaign around the five different levels of driving automation.”

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