The rapid progression of technology in automobiles is, well, rapid. As electric systems take command of most vehicle functions, it can be a bit confusing as to what those various assist and safety systems actually do. To make matters worse, automakers are desperate to catch the attention of buyers with clever branding for their own systems. After all, dynamic motion reduction system for your new hatchback sounds way cooler than power brakes, right?
Trouble is, the present-day alphabet soup of automatic systems can be tough to fully understand, and when you’re talking about systems that literally take control of vehicle functions, it’s really important for drivers to know exactly what is going on.
Enter Consumer Reports, which is striving to create standardized terms for important safety and assist systems found in nearly all new vehicles. That effort now has the support of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) according to a new report from Consumer Reports on the subject. That report also highlights the extent of the problem by pointing to a AAA study showing 20 different names can sometimes be used to describe one system. If that’s not confusing enough, the same automaker might have three or four different terms used at various levels to describe a single feature.
Working with J.D. Power, the National Safety Council, and AAA, Consumer Reports created a list of 19 specific names to use across the board when talking about various assist and safety systems. They are grouped into five categories: Driving Control Assistance, Collision Warnings, Collision Intervention, Parking Assistance, and Other Driver Assistance Systems. Some groups are more important than others obviously, but standardized names such as blind-spot warning, automatic emergency braking, and surround-view camera should be easily recognizable to just about anyone.
The DOT endorsement doesn’t mean these terms will be used by automakers, nor does it suggest legal requirements for certain names are coming. Rather, the goal is to seek standard terminology that all aspects of the auto industry – from automakers to journalists – can agree upon.
Hit the source link below to see the full list of names, and let us know your thoughts on this. Are the various terms really as confusing as the report suggests?