Experiences with Driving Automation

For those of us that have vehicles with automation at SAE level 2 and above, I’m curious about your experiences with the software. Are you comfortable enough to use it regularly? Do you know certain areas where you need to disable it due to road conditions or congestion? Any unexpected and/or dangerous behavior from the system?

I’ve got a Polestar 2 with a “Pilot Assist” feature, which combines lane keeping and active cruise control for a level 2 system. I’ve warmed up to it in the year since I’ve had the car, and I’m pretty familiar with optimal situations to use it. It’s great for bumper-to-bumper traffic on well marked interstate highways. I still won’t use it for extended periods at highway speed though.

However, I’ve had some bad experience with the collision avoidance functionality of the system. I had an instance where the system triggered on a ghost and adjusted the steering to put me in the oncoming traffic lane. Fortunately I was the only car on the road at the time and was able to fight and overpower the system. I had Polestar do an analysis on the system and confirmed no hardware faults, so it’s a software design defect. In my opinion, the most egregious part of all this is that the system cannot be turned off. I’m still waiting for a final report on the incident from their engineering department.

Anyone else?

I wouldn’t call it level 2, but the last brand new car I had (5 years ago, Mitsubishi PHEV) had active radar cruise, lane keeping and collision avoidance which used cameras and radar.

I had the same experience, the first two were useful on motorways but I’d never use them anywhere else.

The collision avoidance triggered incorrectly often, and I didn’t feel safe with it on. It would sense an oncoming car in the other lane and trigger. Or there were situations where another car would allow me to proceed around parked cars - only for the system to trigger and bring me to a halt - giving the person behind a shock.

A computer can’t make eye contact with another driver and understand a situation sometimes.

All 3 cars I’ve bought since have been dumb.


I’ve driven a couple of self-steering cars on the Autobahn and dual carriageway. I’ve driven various Skodas, VWs, Toyota, Kia and Nissan.

Around here, there are a lot of tar strips, where the road has been repaired. None of these cars can cope with this, the best was the Nissan Leaf, the worst the Skodas.

At one point, at the end of the dual-carriageway on the way to work, there is a tar strip that goes diagonally across the lane, it is black… But all of the cars I’ve driven ignore the white lines and the lane and try to make a hard turn into barrier! Luckily, the first time I experienced it, it was in a car with lane holding only and it tried to steer into the barrier, so I still had the wheel firmly in the hand and could steer against it. With all the others, as soon as I approach this area, I make my grip firmer and get myself ready to correct the steering.

Likewise, in the other direction, on an offramp, there is a tar strip that curves across the exit lane, here, the cars will all try and drag you back towards the dual-carriageway and go from the exit ramp and down a grass bank to the main carriageway again. Again, the first time this happened, I was fully driving and it was a lane holding system that tried to follow the tar strip onto the steep grass blank and I could counter it. But the other more advanced systems also fall for it.

To be honest, after a quick test at one of these two points, to see if a new car has improved, the first thing I do is disable any lane holding or automatic driving, because it just isn’t usable, at least in this area. I do have the lane control on my Qashqai turned on, but that is because it only beeps if I leave the lane without indicating, it doesn’t try and counter steer against me. That is about as far as I am happy to go with the current state of the technology.