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Mistaking billboard for traffic, Chinese SUV suddenly brakes and causes an accident

CY Foong · Jun 24, 2024 03:10 PM

Mistaking billboard for traffic, Chinese SUV suddenly brakes and causes an accident 01

Main photo for illustration purposes

Humans are often easily distracted and when it comes to driving, sometimes those split-second moments can cause a chain reaction that results in some damage. This is why many modern cars are equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that help to mitigate accidents.

Once a feature found exclusively on high-end luxury cars, ADAS is now considered vital and these driving aids are often guided by an array of cameras, ultrasonic sensors, radar, and lidar. While the safety suite comes in handy to avoid accidents and collisions in theory, we have experienced a few moments where they can be a bit too sensitive and overreacting.

One Chinese driver learned that the hard way when his Li Auto L9 SUV mistook a couple of vans on a large overpass billboard for actual traffic. There is nothing sexy about the Dongfeng Yufeng vans that were being advertised but no judgements to the L9; to each their own as they say.

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In all seriousness, the affected L9’s data showed that it was cruising on a highway at 77 km/h when the SUV’s autonomous emergency brake (AEB) system kicked in upon seeing the billboard, causing it to be rear-ended by another vehicle.

Luckily, the damage faced by the L9 SUV was minimal with only the rear bumper and parts of the tailgate being affected. However, this does pose some concerns with how effective semi-autonomous driver-assistance systems are as the Li Auto L9 is a flagship SUV fitted with all the safety kitchen sinks.

Mistaking billboard for traffic, Chinese SUV suddenly brakes and causes an accident 01

According to Chinese reports, the owner of the affected L9 demanded CNY 20,000 (~RM 13k) in compensation from Li Auto. The 9-year-old Chinese carmaker issued a statement to the media that it proposed a CNY 4,000 (~RM 2.6k) cash offer to the owner but no agreement was finalized.

Li Auto also acknowledged that “the system mistakenly identified an advertisement image as a vehicle” and stated that “improvements will be made to the software system”.

In a separate coincidence to this story, multiple Li Auto vehicles were involved in a chain rear-end collision in Shantou, Guangdong. The convoy was part of a gathering of Li Auto owners with about a dozen cars driving in formation.

According to Chinese media, the lead car slowed down when approaching the red light but the tailing cars were too close to one another, triggering a collision warning and the AEB system to kick in. 5 vehicles were damaged in total with Li Auto stating the accident was caused by slippery roads and the cars being too close to another.

As advanced as these active safety features are, they do not necessarily prevent an accident. The best way is always to be alert on the road and not completely put full trust in an automated system because as imperfect as humans are, we can be a bit more reliable than newfangled tech.

Also read: Study: ADAS systems unreliable, more of an interference than an assistance

CY Foong

Writer

Traded advertising for a career that fits his passion for cars. Enjoys spotting cars during his free time and has a soft spot for Japanese Kei cars but drives a thirsty manual sedan.

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