Re: My wife's car has automatic headlights.
If you need to be seen, sidelights.
If you need to see, headlights.
If you "don't notice" for several hundred yards, chances are you don't "need" headlights, as such.
That said, if your car doesn't put at least sidelights on at the first sign of dusk, you're going to be run into, and it's almost certainly a problem with your car. That you notice means that you are driving fairly responsibly, though.
I'm torn. I only buy cars that are almost entirely mechanical - it's impossible to get ENTIRELY mechanical nowadays. I just don't like the car second-guessing me. But I'm also one of the few people I know that would happily slap average speed cameras on every street corner, and tie them in to alert nearby police to cars with false/invalid/hidden number plates, so it would be almost impossible to speed without flagging up something somewhere with your name on it.
I don't speed. But equally I don't want the car DECIDING that I'm speeding when actually I'm not (how does it deal with, for example, side-road speed limits posted on the main road, "20mph limit in one mile" etc?). I work in IT and just don't trust the equipment enough here to let it do such things, even with an override - that just adds to the confusion in such situations where the pedals don't correspond to the driver's wishes and then - all of a sudden - do.
I implicitly trust ABS, traction control, engine management, airbags, seatbelts, etc. They are fabulous technologies that save lives in one way or another. But equally I don't trust the car to actually choose how to drive. If I brake, ABS ensures that my braking is as efficient as possible. If my wheels spin, traction control will manage those wheels to ensure grip on the road to try to conform to my desire to accelerate / brake / corner. If I hit something, seatbelts and airbags will perform drastic measures to ensure that the damage to myself is as low as possible in such an extreme situation but not active otherwise.
It's the parts where cars attempt to detect the situations where you DON'T take an action (e.g. automatic emergency braking, automated lane control, even cruise control) and do it for you that I don't trust. There might be a good reason not to (I'm heavily of the opinion that it's BILLIONS-TO-ONE against the human NEEDING to accelerate in an emergency situation unless they'd be an ABSOLUTE pillock of a driver just seconds before anyway).
Cars, like computers, should do what they are told. You can help me do what I've told you to, that's fine. But the second I stop telling you to, you shouldn't suddenly decide that you must anyway unless it's absolutely, and assuredly, life-critical (and that has an entirely different standard of testing).
I'm not a fan of the middle ground. Let me drive the car and take responsibility for it, or don't. Don't put me behind the driving seat, telling me it's all my fault if something goes wrong, and then take away control. Automated car or manual car, not the in-between.