ADAS And What You Need To Know

The concept behind Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) is to reduce the severity and number of motor vehicle accidents. These features warn drivers of potential dangers and can even intervene to help you remain in control to prevent an accident or reduce the severity of an accident if it cannot be avoided.

At its core, ADAS compensates for driver mistakes whether it’s an unintentional lack of concentration, erroneous control inputs or simply ignorance and foolishness. Humans aren’t perfect, especially behind the wheel but ADAS can help.  Here is everything you need to know.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems Explained

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, also referred to as “ADAS”, are safety and convenience features designed to create a safer environment for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. More companies are including ADAS technologies in their road vehicles either as a standard option or after-market fitment.

Drivers can manually turn off some of these systems but by default, many will be active as a standard setting. With all the latest technological advancements, it’s easy to get confused as to what exactly ADAS include. Here are some of the many advanced driver-assistance and convenience systems:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control (not to be confused with Automated Lane Keeping System)
  • Automatic Emergency Braking or Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Blind Spot Detection, Monitoring and Warning
  • Collision Detection Warning
  • Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Emergency Driver Assistant
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Automatic Headlight Dimming and High Beam Activation
  • Parking Assist
  • Lane Departure Warning

Increasing Safety And Convenience With Advanced Mobility Features

Contrary to popular belief, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems have been around for some time in the form of anti-lock braking system (ABS). The benefits of ABS in helping reduce accident frequency and severity have been so great that it’s been mandatory on all new cars sold in the European Union since 2004.

Added to the list are traction control systems (TCS) and electronic stability control (ESC, ESP or DSC for dynamic stability control). These systems have made a significant impact in the motoring world by reducing the number and severity of accidents, especially with a vehicle rolling over and leaving the road. The industry has widely recognised ESC as the single most important contributor to vehicle safety.

Today, the integration of ADAS is common but there are several increasingly complex autonomous driving systems which should not be confused with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems.

Is ADAS The Same As Autonomous Driving?

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems are classified as Level 1 or Level 2 under the UNECE’s 5-level classification system of driving automation. It is important to note that only Level 5 indicates fully automated driving.

Level 1 refers to functions that provide either steering or braking/acceleration assistance but not both simultaneously. Level 2 systems provide steering and braking/acceleration assistance at the same time, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance.

Both Level 1 and Level 2 systems only provide driver support features and not automated driving in any sense of the term. This is because both levels require drivers to remain in control of the vehicle whilst supervising the systems to ensure safe operation at all times.

Why Is ADAS Important?

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems effectively create safer roads as they help reduce the number of road accidents and the severity of those that cannot be avoided. Several studies have shown the efficacy of ADAS in real-world driving situations with the consensus being that the technology should be adopted on a large scale as soon as possible.

Whilst a 2016 report from Swiss Re predicted a massive decrease in accidents on motorways and other roads by adopting forward-collision warning, blind-spot detection and lane departure warning systems, their estimates were unrealistic. Even more so when they included more sophisticated systems such as lane-keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking, night vision and multi-feature ADAS packages.

Considering the real-world implementation of ADAS packages, Swiss Re concluded that an overall accident reduction of 4.3% could be expected by 2020 (source: Swiss Re).

Proven Success Of ADAS

Volvo, together with insurers If and Volvia, looked at the effectiveness of the carmaker’s City Safety’ autonomous emergency braking system. Drivers could choose this as an optional extra since 2006 but the automaker fitted the system as a standard feature on all new Volvos since 2008. Results of the study revealed that cars fitted with City Safety were involved in 28% fewer accidents (source: Volvo Cars).

Following the success of ADAS, many functions have become mandatory on new cars in various countries across the globe. The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) has embraced ADAS and continues to adapt its assessment procedures when addressing the growing number of systems and technologies.

Euro NCAP has been championing occupant and pedestrian protection for several decades which has resulted in increased consumer awareness in terms of driving safer cars. It’s safe to assume that Euro NCAP will play a similar role in promoting ADAS and the implementation thereof.

The Future Of ADAS

ADAS will play an even larger role in the future as the industry aims at further improving overall driver safety. Already, Euro NCAP’s ‘safety assist’ tests include assessing forward collision warning or autonomous emergency braking systems, lane departure warning systems, lane-keep assist systems and speed assist systems.

As with other test results, it will determine ratings for these specific functions in its overall new vehicle assessment. This means that vehicles fitted with standard ADAS equipment, providing they perform well, will be ranked higher in Euro NCAP’s ratings. On the other hand, vehicles that aren’t as well-equipped will drop further down the scale.

In terms of occupant and pedestrian protection measures, other manufacturers will also start adopting this new technology. This consumer-facing programme has been brilliant in improving vehicle safety while raising consumer awareness. Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems will benefit similarly with a much higher (and faster) uptake over the next few years.

Mandatory Functions On New Cars

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) has been mandatory in the EU since 2014 while Autonomous Emergency Braking became compulsory on all commercial vehicles sold in the EU in 2015. Rear-facing or reversing cameras with a dashboard display screen have also been on the list since May 2018 but apply to new cars sold in the United States.

The European Commission published a list in May 2018 of 11 new mandatory safety features which should be on all new cars by 2021. The list includes all 11 Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems functions we mentioned earlier including advanced emergency braking event (accident) data recorder, emergency stop signal, head impact zone enlargement for pedestrians and cyclists, plus safety glass and lane-keeping assist.

Final Thoughts From Elite Garages

As we have seen, several ADAS functions are already prevalent on our roads with many other systems available as standard or optional on more expensive models. Whilst it may be an exclusivity thing for some, this will inevitably change in the near future.

With cars becoming more technologically advanced, garages need to adapt to continue providing comprehensive vehicle servicing. There’s a bigger drive toward vehicle safety and autonomy as shown by Tesla’s Autopilot, Nissan’s ProPilot and Volvo’s Pilot Assist. Each system includes active cruise control, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot detection and offers Level 2 autonomy under certain conditions.

Remember, this is not fully autonomous and drivers should always be alert and keep their hands on the steering wheel. As always, if you would like more information on our wide range of products and service, please visit our website where you will find details of all our branches nationwide.