Car washes are making safety systems in modern cars go haywire

Updated: 


Modern cars come equipped with a wide variety of safety devices, and it appears that they are causing havoc in automatic car washes.

Semi-autonomous driving technology such as automatic braking, lane assists and parking aids are no longer the preserve of high-end luxury vehicles.

These systems use radars, cameras and other technology to read the world around the car and keep the driver out of trouble. Unfortunately, though, it appears that they start to freak out when in the close confines of a car wash.

According to a report in Forbes, the cars can't tell a solid wall and a car wash's mitter curtain apart. This makes the system think that the car wash is not a safe place to be, engaging the brakes.

The report says: "Car wash operators are reporting instances where cars have become stuck in mid-wash by their vehicles' auto-braking systems. Some, ironically in the act of preventing a crash, have actually jumped the car wash rails and inadvertently caused a collision with the vehicle directly rearward."

It's not just the collision avoidance systems that are going haywire, either. With manual handbrakes being largely replaced by electronic ones, operators are finding that some cars automatically engage the handbrake when the engine is switched off.

While many cars do allow drivers to turn off these electronic aids, it is reported many owners have no idea how to do so when asked.

As these systems continue to become ever more prevalent, car wash companies will have to factor these limitations into their designs. Or we'll just have to wash our cars by hand...