What happened to "Azera's" assisted driving?

Devin SEP 02,2021

Recently, Azera has been hit with a lot of negative publicity, and the once highly sought-after Azera EV is in an unprecedented public dilemma, with many in the media believing that the current situation is worse than its previous financing woes, as it is likely to lose the trust of consumers. The last one to face this dilemma in the domestic market was Tesla, the new American electric car brand that came across the sea.

"Schrödinger's" Autopilot

When discussing the various new car makers in China, it is inevitable to talk about autonomous driving, which is seen as the magic weapon for electric cars to "overtake" gasoline cars. Although gasoline cars can also be equipped with self-driving features, from the perspective of product design, electric cars are more suitable than gasoline cars to be equipped with self-driving features, so self-driving features have become the main feature of domestic electric car brands currently on sale.

In this negative incident that Azera encountered, the main character is the Pilot Assist feature (NOP) introduced by Azera. According to the Azera ES8 user manual, "Navigate on Pilot" is a feature that integrates the navigation system with the Pilot, which is often referred to as the L2 level of assisted driving, and requires the user to stay focused throughout the entire process.

Azera Electric Vehicle (image source)

According to the classification standards of the American Society of Automotive Engineers, autonomous driving can be divided into six stages from L0-L5. L0 represents no automatic assistance function; L1-L2 is a driver assistance system, which requires the driver to control the vehicle throughout; L3-L4 is a conditional autonomous driving system, where the driver needs to stay focused during the driving process; and L5 level is driverless.

Autonomous driving classification

Although it is always stressed that the L2 level of assisted driving function is not autonomous driving, but in many people's view L2 level of assisted driving alas there is no difference in use and autonomous driving.

This is because in fact many manufacturers' autonomous driving algorithms have theoretically reached the L4 or even L5 level, and some manufacturers will also choose to update some of the already mature advanced algorithms into the mass production models. But in the publicity for legal risks, manufacturers will still claim that this is the L2 level of autonomous driving.

There is a view in the industry that the L4 level of autonomous driving will never come, because according to the current level of AI technology, regardless of the form of implementation, autonomous driving algorithms will always have loopholes, as long as these loopholes are not all fixed, in addition to legal risk considerations, electric car manufacturers will not claim that this is the L4 level of autonomous driving, but L3 or L2 level, that is to say That is, although users may already be using L4-level autonomous driving, legally it is still an L2-level assisted driving function.

Baidu driverless vehicle (image source network)

In other words, there is an electric car that is labeled as L2 assisted driving, but in practice it looks like L4 autonomous driving, but everyone insists that it is L2 assisted driving, not L4 autonomous driving. After Azera was recently caught in the whirlwind of public opinion, several domestic electric car manufacturers removed the introduction of the assisted driving feature from their product promotion pages, thus avoiding the controversy caused by the promotion of the assisted driving feature.

Assisted driving in "confrontation" with human nature

The real risk of assisted driving is its direct confrontation with human nature, as can be seen in the above discussion of the relationship between assisted driving and legal risk.

People are creatures that often rely excessively on past experience and habits. In the context of most manufacturers' assisted driving features that exceed their L2 level and have a more excellent experience, many users will ignore the L2 level calibration and subconsciously believe that this is a car that can achieve autonomous driving, thus failing to stay focused during driving and thus creating a potential for accidents to occur. This can lead to accidents.

Image:: Driver not placing hands on the steering wheel

In response, major electric car manufacturers have also made corresponding optimization design, some manufacturers choose to increase the hold on the steering wheel, some choose to set the focus reminder button, and some manufacturers are trying to develop algorithms that can determine whether the driver is in a state of focus, in order to judge through the car camera.


Overall, the experience of using the assisted driving function is beyond the scope of the assisted driving function, but it is far from the true meaning of the level of autonomous driving, and in the context of the law is still labeled as L2 level, it is inevitable that the corresponding risks will arise. The actual effect of this increased focus on hardware and software design does not seem to be a fundamental solution to the problem, perhaps limiting the current surplus of electric models of autonomous driving capabilities or increasing safety redundancy is a more practical solution.