On the same day the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced a new system to rate the built-in safeguards to ensure drivers stay focused on the road while using semi-autonomous driving features, Consumer Reports (CR) says they too are now evaluating driver monitoring systems.
When CR reveals their 2022 Top Picks on February 17, they will be reflective of their new scoring system to take into account driver monitoring systems.
“We believe it’s time to recognize vehicles that have found a safer way to deploy this technology,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of CR’s Auto Test Center. “GM’s Super Cruise and now Ford’s BlueCruise both have the right combination of helping drivers enjoy the convenience of automation while verifying that they’re keeping their eyes on the road.”
Cars with active driving assistance but that lack what CR considers adequate driver monitoring will lose 2 points from their overall score.
This will first be implemented with the 2024 model year, before increasing to a 4 point deduction for 2026 models.
According to CR, an adequate driver monitoring system is one “one that will reliably detect driver inattentiveness and alert the driver to pay attention while vehicle automation is in use.”
“If the driver still doesn’t react, the system should ideally bring the vehicle to a stop as safely as possible,” says Kelly Funkhouser, manager for vehicle technology at CR.
BMW’s Traffic Jam Assist, Subaru’s EyeSight and DriverFocus, and Tesla’s Autopilot were also evaluated, but failed to meet their standards.
For Autopilot, CR said they were able to operate the system (on software version 11) with the cabin camera completely covered. They also criticized that a driver could keep their hands on the wheel but take their eyes of the road for any amount of time.