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Lexus Beats Tesla and Every Other Automaker in New Driver Assistance Safety Ratings

You may not want to put too much faith in your car’s driver’s assistance software just yet.

A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that the majority of partially automated safety systems don’t do what they’re supposed to do, according to Car and Driver. The group claims that out of the 14 they tested, only Lexus’s technology could even be called “acceptable.”

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If you’ve been in the market for a car over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed the growing popularity of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Self-driving cars aren’t here yet, but several automakers include software and hardware in their vehicles that allow for conditional hands-free driving and include safety features designed to make driving easier and safer. Because of this, IIHS, which hands out crash safety ratings, decided it was time to take a closer look at the technology.

Inside the Lexus LS
Inside the Lexus LS

The new Partial Automation Safeguard Ratings aim to evaluate the effectiveness of these systems, with a particular focus on the effectiveness of their driver monitoring, attention reminders, and safety procedures. The IIHS tested 14 systems from nine manufacturers— including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Genesis, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tesla, and Volvo—to determine whether they were good, acceptable, marginal, or poor. The initial findings were not great, to say the least.

None of the systems IIHS tested achieved a “good” rating. The best-performing system was Lexus Teammate with Advance Drive which can be found on the LS and scored an “acceptable” rating. Next up were General Motors’ Super Cruise and Nissan’s ProPilot with Navi-Link systems which both graded out as “marginal.” Everything by BMW, Ford, Genesis, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Volvo (as well as additional systems from Lexus and Nissan) were all deemed “poor.”

“Some drivers may feel that partial automation makes long drives easier, but there is little evidence it makes driving safer,” the group’s president, David Harkey, said in a statement. “As many high-profile crashes have illustrated, it can introduce new risks when systems lack the appropriate safeguards.”

We’re still in the early days of ADAS, but it’s clear that all these systems need some serious work. We don’t imagine any of these automakers will be particularly excited to tout their IIHS current ratings, even Lexus. Still, there are drivers out there who like to feel safe behind the wheel, so we imagine at least one company will make changes to its software to get a better rating next time around.

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