There seems to still be a lot of confusion with vehicle owners about driver-assist vs self-driving car. The difference is significant and can literally cost you your life, as happened in the case below. Let’s start by understanding the true difference.


Driver-assist systems provide audible or visual (and sometimes physical) alerts if they sense a potentially dangerous situation, and some can even take action such as applying the brakes to avoid a collision or steering a car back into its lane.

Autonomous Car

An autonomous car is a vehicle that can guide itself without human conduction. This kind of vehicle has become a concrete reality and may pave the way for future systems where computers take over the art of driving. An autonomous car is also known as a driverless car, robot car, self-driving car or autonomous vehicle.

Many common cars on the road now have the ability to have driver assist. They may even include the software to allow them to be updated to self-driving, in the future. For example, Elon Musk states that the Tesla will likely be ready to convert to self-driving mode by mid-2020. This still seems unlikely to most, especially considering the issue they had in March 2018 where a driver was killed trying to use his driver-assist like a self-driving car.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced that a man, who worked at Apple as a software engineer, was killed in his Tesla playing video games, while on auto pilot mode.

As explained in this video, his Tesla model X swerved and hit a concrete barrier on the freeway on March of 2018. The Tesla accelerated right before hitting the barrier. The collision avoidance system nor the emergency braking system activated.

Drivers-assist technologies clearly work, but research show that, so far, the addition of these safety features has caused people to become comfortable and increases distracted driving.

The important take away here is that the driver assist features in our cars today are a long way from the fully autonomous car. You absolutely have to be at the helm of your vehicle at all times and avoid accidents. Don’t look at it as driver-assist vs self-driving car, they are two clearly different things.

If you find yourself in an accident, and you live in Northern California, stop by any of the Collision Pros locations. Collision Pros has locations in Auburn, Chico, Red Bluff, Woodland, Paradise and Loomis CA.

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