Cars with Level 2 semi-autonomous driving have been sold in Malaysia for some time now, but the Proton X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship will bring the technology to the masses for the first time. The B-segment SUV is poised to become the cheapest car with such a system, and buyers might not have come across it before.

In the X50, the Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) system bundles in adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane centring assist, enabling the car to maintain a set distance from a preceding vehicle and stay in the centre of its lane. It works at speeds of up to 150 km/h.

There is certainly a worry that owners might think that the X50 can drive itself, thus removing themselves from the task of driving the car. Director of group engineering Hazrin Fazail Haroon admitted that the feature – part of the X50’s Advanced Driving Assistance System (ADAS) – is difficult to explain to a layperson, but said that the system is supposed to be an extension of Proton’s safety suite. Nothing more, nothing less.

“If you look at MIROS [Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research] data in 2011, out of the total accidents that happen in Malaysia, 86% is purely due to human error. JKJR [Road Safety Department] data on the fatal accident rate in 2019 [also shows that] out of five fatal accidents, four is due to human error.

“These features that we add in assist the driver and hence, able to support in minimising human error. That is our objective, not so much about the car [being able] to drive by itself,” he said.

Intelligent drive specialist Muhammad Zulfadzli added that education is key in making buyers understand what ICC can and cannot do. “There is a lack of understanding and knowledge of Level 2 automation in general. So what we’re doing is educate the customer; we’ll provide them with enough information at the point of purchase on how to operate the car, what [the system] is used for and its limitations.

“Hopefully, when they know what its limitations are, they will use the car more responsibly, and they will know that [the system] is to be used more for assistance, not so much for autonomous driving,” he said.

Again, ICC will only assist in driving the car, so at no point should you be doing anything other than focusing on the road ahead. The system is not foolproof – the onus will still be on you to maintain full control of the car, and if you get into an accident when using ICC, you will still need to take full responsibility. In other words, don’t use this as an excuse to use your phone while driving.

GALLERY: Proton X50 drive preview, Sepang International Circuit


GALLERY: Proton X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship

Tags: