Research by automotive technology supplier Bosch has shown that while UK motorists are aware of the benefits of driver assistance systems, many of them are not fitted on most cars, but they would be of interest – if they were fitted as standard.
Current fitment rates for many driver assistance systems are not especially high. Only ten percent of drivers surveyed had Parking Assistant or Blind Spot Detection systems and only six percent had Adaptive Cruise Control.
Almost half of the drivers surveyed said that driver assistance systems made driving more comfortable and more relaxing. While more than 60 percent of motorists surveyed enjoyed driving, many said that they found certain situations behind the wheel stressful, including 22 percent who felt stressed by slow-moving traffic and 30 percent who said that parking in a tight space got them agitated.
Drivers had experienced many stressful situations in their cars in the last 12 months, with 54 percent having been forced to carry out an emergency stop, 39 percent having failed to spot a car in their blind spot and 28 percent having been in a critical situation and not known how to act.
As well as making driving more relaxing, assistance systems are making it safer. For example, while 76 percent of drivers were aware of the functions of Emergency Brake Assist, only around half said that they had the feature on their own vehicle.
As of 2014, only cars equipped with Emergency Braking Assist will be eligible for a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Clearly not all vehicles have such technology as an option, but Bosch believes that drivers would benefit from specifying driver assistance systems where available and that more of them should be fitted as standard.
As the number of people using cars around the world is increasing, so is the total amount of time being spent behind the wheel. It is estimated that 90 percent of all road accidents are caused by human error, with risks not being detected or the situation not judged correctly. Bosch provides vehicle manufacturers with a wide range of driver assistance systems such as Emergency Brake Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning, which help to reduce these risks.
It is clear that motorists want these safety technologies, but feel they should be fitted as standard. Nearly 80 percent of drivers in the survey were interested in Blind Spot Detection and Emergency Braking Assist systems, but only eight percent would pay for the former and nine percent for the latter.
Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control said: “Driver assistance systems can greatly reduce stress behind the wheel and increase safety by reacting on behalf of the driver in critical situations. However, in order to meet both drivers’ expectations and the UN’s safety targets, it is clear that we need to work to increase fitment of these technologies, through encouraging them both as options on new cars, as well as standard equipment where possible.”