ADAS: Automotive Safety Technology in Your Hands
Soon, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) will be the norm in automotive manufacturing. Functions like adaptive cruise control, emergency brakes, and lane-monitoring are becoming available to most drivers. We take a closer look at these safety features, get real-world statistics that support their benefits, and see how driver education can maximize this automotive technology for efficiency and safety.
Vehicle safety has come a long way since the seatbelt. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) warn, aid, monitor, and assist drivers to keep them--as well as other motorists and pedestrians--safer on the road.
ADAS: Technology for safety
Using cameras, sensors, radars, and LiDAR (light detection and ranging), ADAS are technological features that improve a driver’s ability to prevent and react to dangers on the road. These systems can be adaptive, adjusting to input from the surrounding environment. Some of them are automated, taking over certain functions. These systems also alert drivers to potential issues or hazards that could increase the risk of injury. ADAS technology gives drivers greater visibility, improved advance warnings, and automation in the event of an emergency.
Forward collision prevention
- Forward Collision Warning. This system monitors a vehicle’s speed, the speed of a vehicle in front of it, and the distance between them to warn the driver of an impending collision.
- Automatic Emergency Braking. When a potential collision is detected, it activates a vehicle’s brakes. It can also increase the braking force if the driver is not applying the brakes enough to prevent a crash.
- Pedestrian Automatic Braking. This system warns the driver if a pedestrian is crossing in front of the vehicle. If the driver does not apply the brakes, it does so automatically to prevent a collision.
- Adaptive lighting. This active safety feature makes driving at night or in low- light conditions safer. Around curves or hills, headlights will redirect beams based on the car’s direction.
Backing up and parking
- Rear Automatic Braking. This system automatically engages the brakes when it detects a potential rear collision, like with a parked car, a wall, or other obstacles.
- Rear Video System or Backup Camera. When the vehicle is in reverse, the camera gives the driver a clear view behind the vehicle.
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert. This system warns the driver if a vehicle is entering your backing path.
Lane and side assist
- Lane Departure Warning. Monitoring lane markings, this system warns drivers when they unintentionally drift out of their lane without using their turn signals.
- Lane Keeping Assist. Cameras and infrared sensors read the road markings and the system steers the vehicle back into its lane.
- Blind Spot Detection. The driver receives audio or visual alerts when the system detects a vehicle in his blind spot.
Maintaining safe distance
- Traffic Jam Assist. When you slow to a crawl and activate this system, it will automatically accelerate and brake with traffic flow and while staying in the same lane.
- Highway Pilot. Like autopilot systems in airplanes, this automates speed control, lane keeping, and lane entering and exiting--all while matching traffic flow and observing the legal speed limit.
- Adaptive Cruise Control. This system will automatically adjust the speed of a vehicle to maintain the pre-set distance from the vehicle in front of it.
Here’s a video showing how several ADAS features work.
Real-world benefits of ADAS
Two U.S.-based nonprofit organizations, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), studied the effects of crash avoidance features. They compared the rates of police-reported crashes and insurance claims for vehicles with and without various ADAS technologies.
How effective were ADAS technologies in decreasing collisions and preventing injuries?
Clearly, ADAS can prevent and reduce property damage, injuries, and deaths. This is technology that is crucial to saving human lives.
Countries around the world have agreed on a draft regulation by the United Nations for advanced emergency braking systems. By 2022, new safety technologies such as lane-keeping assistance and advanced emergency braking will be mandatory in European vehicles. In Japan, domestic automakers will be required to equip new passenger cars with automatic brakes from November 2021.
These government regulations are expected to boost the global ADAS market, which is projected to grow from USD 27.0 billion in 2020 to USD 83.0 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 11.9%.
But while more ADAS technologies are becoming available to drivers, a deeper understanding and proper use are necessary to maximize the full safety benefits of these systems.
A call for education and training
As its name implies, advanced driver assistance systems are meant to assist, and not replace, the driver. Not understanding the limitations or functions of this technology can negate its safety benefits. It can lead to misuse and overreliance on the systems, which could result in a deadly crash.
Last year, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) published a report on how to maximize the safety benefits of ADAS. An online survey of more than 9,000 drivers in six European countries revealed that most users do not receive any training on ADAS. Instead, they rely on “information from the car seller, the user manual or they apply the ‘trial-and-error’ method.”
The report recommends that car dealers and leasing companies should take the lead in giving sufficient ADAS training and information to drivers. Skilled, certified trainers should provide theoretical learning and one-on-one training on public roads for the following:
- Demonstration of all in-car available systems
- Explanation of the capabilities and limitations of the systems
- Explanation of the safety potential of the systems
- Demonstration of the ways to use comfort ADAS, where to use them and where not to use them
Any tool, no matter how sophisticated, loses its potential if not wielded correctly. We live in a time of rapid technological advancements, many of which drastically improve our everyday lives. The benefits of ADAS are indisputable. Its true power to keep us safe lies in our hands.
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