Re: Hire cars
Do hire car companies always set cars to "default safe" settings on every hire?
I believe some moron has made it a legal requirement that you cannot kill these things off permanently, so if the features are not as wonderful as advertised you have to kill them off every. single. time. you turn on the ignition. I don't know who came up with this idea, but given my experience with most driver assist systems, the aformentioned idiot repeated deserves percussive education.
Let's take lane assist. Most lane assists take this job very literal and keep you in the lan, as in "nicely between the lines on the ROAD" as opposed to nicely in the lane of TRAFFIC which is what it should do. In other words, it's about as far away from "intelligent" as you can get - even the most moronic driver would do this better. I cannot see how this can be deemed conributing to your safety - it frequently achieves the opposite.
If you approach something like a HGV which has a wide load or is otherwise near or even on the centre line, the "assist" will happily try to run you into the edge that sticks out. Depending on the car, that means it's either just vibrating the steering wheel or is even actively yanking the wheel towards the danger.
Next, proximity breaking. This default means that you have a device in your car that can independently stomp on the brakes if it sees something suspicious. First off, it only looks at the front. Granted, the person behind you should keep distance but that's not always possible in traffic AND (and this is important) you can still get a legal problem if you go and stand on your brakes for no apparent reason. Which is what this system can do, and does.
Next, it's only a basic computer which has nowhere near the ability of a human to assess COMPLEX situations. I've had a Hyundai Kona hybrid go full on the brakes in Central London going across a big crossing because the traffic was so complex it couldn't work out what was going on. Thankfully you can bypass its attempt to brake, get out safely and then stop safly on the side of the road to finish swearing and start digging out where you can kill the damn thing (and yes, only until you restart the car), but after it has done this twice your car startup routine changes to doing this first after switching on contact before you even set off.
Just to add to this, I have as yet no idea how these things deal with signal degradation. What if a sensor breaks (although I'm getting to the point where they could have an "accident")? What if they get dirty? What will happen when these things age?
I'm OK with driver assistance systems, but as long as I am the driver, *I* should be in control of a vehicle. If not, I should also not have the resulting liability.