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MEDIA ADVISORY: Reminders from Partners for Automated Vehicle Education after “autopilot” related crash in Connecticut

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Media reports today indicate that a crash overnight in Connecticut involved a personal vehicle whose driver told police “his car was in autopilot while he was checking on his dog in the back seat just before the crash.” Partners for Automated Vehicle Education is providing this information to media in hopes of helping the public understand the capabilities of vehicles for sale today:
  • Most vehicles available for sale today offer driver assistance features; in all vehicles available for sale today, even with the most advanced of these aids, the driver must always monitor and be prepared to control the vehicle.
  • It is incorrect to refer to current vehicles with driver assist technologies as “self-driving” or “autonomous.”
  • It is damaging to public discussion about advanced vehicle technologies – and potentially unsafe – to refer to vehicles now available for sale to the public using terms such as “automated,” “self-driving,” “autonomous,” “auto pilot” or “driverless,” because creating an inaccurate impression of vehicle capabilities can put drivers and other road users at risk.
  • There are vehicles from several companies on roads that feature “self-driving” or “autonomous” capability; many of these vehicles currently include safety drivers or engineers at the controls. Many of these vehicles are being designed to operate as part of a ride hailing or goods delivery service, so they will not be available for sale to the general public in the near term.
About PAVE
Partners for Automated Vehicle Education  is a broad coalition of industry leaders, academic and public-sector institutions, and advocates for safety, mobility and sustainability that launched its public education campaign in January 2019. PAVE members have come together with the goal of raising understanding and awareness of AV technology so that everyone has the knowledge to participate in shaping the future of our roads.