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Driver Assistance Technology / Independence
Old 04-17-2019, 08:53 AM   #1
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Driver Assistance Technology / Independence

Here's the story. Due to deteriorating eyesight in her left eye, DW has not driven in almost 3 years. Her stated major reason for this is her inability to determine the precise location of the car in a lane, especially at night. Her vision has been cleared by her opthalmologist and the state as sufficient for operating a car. Our current car is 10 years old with NO driver assistance technology. She really misses her independence.

My question for all of you who have experience with driver assistance technologies: Are any of these technologies sufficiently mature/helpful to enable a person with a slight visual impairment to safely operate a vehicle in a low-speed, low-traffic environment?

I would ask you to refrain from addressing issues about insurance, accident responsibility, etc. These are moot if the technology is not adequate.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:05 AM   #2
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No. The tech is not there. Its an assist only and assumes a fully capable driver is still able to take over. It can't replace for poor eyesight, DUI, etc.


Edit to add: One of the problems with assist tech is people are getting lazier with changing lanes assuming the tech will protect them "like it does in the commercials". It can help, but its not a replacement for an attentive and competent driver.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:27 AM   #3
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Our 2016 camry and 2015 avalon have lane deviation assist (beeps if you go over a line without your blinker on), also side mirror blind spot monitors that blink if a car is in your blind spot. It also has front collision automatic braking system (works well, don't ask how I know)
They all work well.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Her stated major reason for this is her inability to determine the precise location of the car in a lane, especially at night. Her vision has been cleared by her opthalmologist and the state as sufficient for operating a car.
Hard to give an answer - you say she is approved for driving, so how much better does she need to feel confident?

IME (2017 Buick Encore), the "blind spot detection" is very reliable, and adds a little security in terms of a second set of eyes. I still would not rely on it, but you probably could.

"inability to determine the precise location of the car in a lane, especially at night."

IME, the lane detection capabilities in most cars is really not reliable. It works well under the best conditions, but the lines are not always that clear, snow/rain, and if there is construction, lines are all over the place, etc. Maybe a car with a far more advanced level of lane detection (Tesla? Cadillac?) would do better.

I think she would need to test drive (rent?) one for an extended time to get a real sense of it.

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Old 04-17-2019, 11:03 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Hard to give an answer - you say she is approved for driving, so how much better does she need to feel confident?

IME (2017 Buick Encore), the "blind spot detection" is very reliable, and adds a little security in terms of a second set of eyes. I still would not rely on it, but you probably could.

"inability to determine the precise location of the car in a lane, especially at night."

IME, the lane detection capabilities in most cars is really not reliable. It works well under the best conditions, but the lines are not always that clear, snow/rain, and if there is construction, lines are all over the place, etc. Maybe a car with a far more advanced level of lane detection (Tesla? Cadillac?) would do better.

I think she would need to test drive (rent?) one for an extended time to get a real sense of it.

-ERD50
ERD raises some good points. We have a volvo with this technology. Similarly, the blind spot detection is very good and even picks up bicycles, etc...

Regarding the lane detection capabilities, I can't speak to how they perform in snow/ice, but what I would say is they are very consistent. So if she wants to be able to drive to the local grocery and takes the same route every day, if the roads are well marked, the technology will probably work well. If it doesn't work in a particular location (merging lanes on a freeway for example), it's usually very consistent.

There is a crash warning on our car--don't know the formal name, but basically a red and white flashing image comes up if the car senses an obstacle in the road or you're approaching another car at too high of a speed. Brakes also are slightly activated and the car makes a beeping noise. In theory this is good, but I've found it activates inappropriately, usually with a parked car on the side of a curving road. It's very frightening when it happens and I can see it really shaking an unconfident driver.
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments so far. A little context, we have begun to contemplate the purchase of a new car independent of DW's driving or non-driving and, since most new cars are so equipped, it had occurred to me to think if these new technologies could help her confidence. I'll share comments with her tonight over dinner and we can discuss what it is she feels she would need to feel confident behind the wheel. Test driving/rentals may, indeed, be necessary. n
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:39 PM   #7
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Whatever brand/model you choose, to help her, include their top-end technology. Not everything is always free.

I leased a 2015 MB C300 & thought the lane deviation technology was excellent as it literally took control of the wheel to bring the car back after crossing a double yellow & self-steered the car to stay in lane for a few hundred yards. The blind spot protection was excellent also. However, I didn't like the car's ride nor ease of entry/exit, so I replaced it with an Inf Q50. Its technology is passive with warning sounds that I don't like as well.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:08 PM   #8
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Maybe Tesla after this year. They can't, for example, make 90 degree right or left turns in the city yet. But they're promising it this year.

Currently I think the best the tech can do is the easy parts of freeway travel. Tesla and others can steer for you, even change lanes (still with some care on your part), as long as you're not turning at an intersection. That would still be of limited use for someone who might like help around the city. The system will turn on in the city, and operate OK, but you'd have to take over for every turn and stop sign/light (without a car in front of you) currently.

On the good side, you can buy the system now (optimistically called Full Self Driving) and it will be updated with all the new features in the next few years. So it might do nearly all of what you'd like within a year or two.

It is really nice to have the car pretty much drive itself on long trips and not have to worry, most of the time, about lane position and following distance. It gives me a little of my own processing power free to worry about navigation.
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