What is ADAS?
Almost all vehicle accidents are caused by human error, which can be avoided with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The role of ADAS is to prevent deaths and injuries by reducing the number of car accidents and the serious impact of those that cannot be avoided.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are electronic systems in a vehicle that use advanced technologies to assist the driver. They can encompass many active safety functions, and often the terms ADAS and active safety are used interchangeably.
These systems increase safety and reaction times to potential through early warning and automated systems. Some of these systems come standard on certain vehicles, while aftermarket features and even entire systems can be added at a later date to personalize the vehicle for the driver.
Technological innovations and the explosion of automation initiatives have greatly increased the popularity of safety systems in vehicles.
Essential safety-critical ADAS applications include:
- Pedestrian detection/avoidance
- Lane departure warning/correction
- Traffic sign recognition
- Automatic emergency braking
- Blind spot detection
These lifesaving systems are key to ensuring the success of ADAS applications, incorporating the latest interface standards, and running multiple vision-based algorithms to support real-time multimedia, vision co-processing, and sensor fusion subsystems.
How Does ADAS Work?
ADAS uses sensors in the vehicle such as radar and cameras to perceive the world around it, and then either provide information to the driver or take automatic action based on what it perceives. ADAS features that provide information will most commonly include “warning” in the name.
For example, if the vehicle detects an object such as another vehicle or a cyclist in a place where the driver may not be able to see them, features such as Blind Spot Detector or Reverse Detect will warn the driver. Likewise, if the system detects that the vehicle is deviating from its lane, it could activate a lane departure warning to warn the driver.
When these detections are coupled with technology that goes beyond a simple warning, ADAS becomes an active safety system – meaning the vehicle ‘actively’ controls braking or steering. These features most commonly include “support” in the name.
These features can greatly increase the effectiveness of ADAS in saving lives. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that forward collision warning systems reduce rear-end collisions by 27%; If the system also includes automatic braking capability, that number almost doubles. Similarly, reversing cameras reduce reversing accidents by 17%, but automatic rear braking reduces them by a whopping 78%.
ADAS also includes propulsion features such as adaptive cruise control, which varies speed to ensure a vehicle maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front. More sophisticated ADAS features can even manage steering and propulsion without the need for hands-on control from the driver under certain conditions, such as highway driving or stop-and-go traffic.
These are typically referred to as Level 2+ active safety systems and represent some of the most advanced features currently available on the market.
Significant automotive safety improvements in the past (e.g., shatter-resistant glass, three-point seatbelts, airbags) were passive safety measures designed to minimize injury during an accident. Today, ADAS systems actively improve safety with the help of embedded vision by reducing the occurrence of accidents and injury to occupants.
The implementation of cameras in the vehicle involves a new AI function that uses sensor fusion to identify and process objects. Sensor fusion, similar to the human brain process of information, combines large amounts of data with the help of image recognition software, ultrasound sensors, lidar, and radar.
This technology can physically respond faster than a human driver ever could. It can analyze streaming video in real-time, recognize what the video shows, and determine how to react to it.
Some of the most common ADAS applications are:
1. Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is particularly helpful on the highway, where drivers can find it difficult to monitor their speed and other cars over a long period of time. Advanced cruise control can automatically accelerate, slow down, and at times stop the vehicle, depending on the action’s other objects in the immediate area.
2. Glare-Free High Beam and Pixel Light
Glare-free high beam and pixel light use sensors to adjust to the darkness and the vehicle’s surroundings without disturbing oncoming traffic. This new headlight application detects the lights of other vehicles and redirects the vehicle’s lights away to prevent other road users from being temporarily blinded.
3. Adaptive Light Control
Adaptive light control adapts the vehicle’s headlights to external lighting conditions. It changes the strength, direction, and rotation of the headlights depending on the vehicle’s environment and darkness.
4. Automatic Parking
Automatic parking helps inform drivers of blind spots so they know when to turn the steering wheel and stop. Vehicles equipped with rearview cameras have a better view of their surroundings than traditional side mirrors. Some systems can even complete parking automatically without the driver’s help by combining the input of multiple sensors.
5. Autonomous Valet Parking
Autonomous valet parking is a new technology that works via vehicle sensor meshing, 5G network communication, with cloud services that manage autonomous vehicles in parking areas. The vehicle’s sensors provide the vehicle with information about where it is, where it needs to go, and how to get there safely.
All this information is methodically evaluated and used to perform drive acceleration, braking, and steering until the vehicle is safely parked.
6. Navigation System
Car navigation systems provide on-screen instructions and voice prompts to help drivers follow a route while concentrating on the road. Some navigation systems can display exact traffic data and, if necessary, plan a new route to avoid traffic jams. Advanced systems may even offer Heads Up Displays (HuD) to reduce driver distraction.
7. Night Vision
Night vision systems enable drivers to see things that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to see at night. There are two categories of night vision implementations: Active night vision systems project infrared light, and passive systems rely on the thermal energy that comes from cars, animals, and other objects.
8. Blind Spot Monitoring
Blindspot detection systems use sensors to provide drivers with important information that is otherwise difficult or impossible to obtain. Some systems sound an alarm when they detect an object in the driver’s blind spot, such as when the driver tries to move into an occupied lane.
9. Automatic Emergency Braking
Automatic emergency braking uses sensors to detect whether the driver is in the process of hitting another vehicle or other objects on the road. This application can measure the distance of nearby traffic and alert the driver to any danger.
Some emergency braking systems can take preventive safety measures, such as tightening seat belts, reducing speed, and adaptive steering to avoid a collision.
10. Crosswind Stabilization
This relatively new ADAS feature supports the vehicle in counteracting strong crosswinds. The sensors in this system can detect strong pressure acting on the vehicle while driving and apply brakes to the wheels affected by crosswind disturbance.
11. Driver Drowsiness Detection
Driver drowsiness detection warns drivers of sleepiness or other road distractions. There are several ways to determine whether a driver’s attention is decreasing. In one case, sensors can analyze the movement of the driver’s head, and heart rate to determine whether they indicate drowsiness. Other systems issue driver alerts similar to the warning signals for lane detection.
12. Driver Monitoring System
The driver monitoring system is another way of measuring the driver’s attention. The camera sensors can analyze whether the driver’s eyes are on the road or drifting. Driver monitoring systems can alert drivers to noises, vibrations in the steering wheel, or flashing lights. In some cases, the car will take the extreme measure of stopping the vehicle completely.
13. 5G and V2X
This hot new 5G ADAS feature, with increased reliability and lower latency, provides communication between the vehicle and other vehicles or pedestrians, generally referred to as V2X. Today, millions of vehicles connect to cellular networks for real-time navigation.
This application will enhance existing methods and the cellular network to improve situational awareness, control or suggest speed adjustments to account for traffic congestion, and update GPS maps with real-time updates.
V2X is essential to support over-the-air (OTA) software updates for the now-extensive range of software-driven systems in cars, from map updates to bug fixes to security updates and more.
Why are ADAS important?
Most traffic accidents are caused by human error. These advanced safety systems are designed to automate and enhance aspects of the driving experience to increase safety and safer driving habits. ADAS has been proven to reduce the number of road fatalities by also reducing the likelihood of human error.
These technologies fall into two main categories: those that automate driving, such as automatic emergency braking systems, and those that help improve driver awareness, such as lane departure warning systems.
The entire purpose of these safety systems is to increase road safety and reduce vehicle injuries by reducing the overall number of traffic accidents. They also limit the number of insurance claims due to minor accidents that result in property damage but no personal injury.
Advantages of ADAS include:
- Automated adaptation and enhancement of safety systems to improve driving among the population. ADAS are intended to avoid collisions by using technologies to alert drivers to potential hazards or take over control of the vehicle to avoid such danger.
- Adaptive features. Automated lighting, adaptive cruise control, and pedestrian crash avoidance mitigation (PCAM) are features that incorporate navigational warnings to alert drivers to potential dangers, such as vehicles in blind spots, lane departures, and more.
- Sensors have the potential to self-calibrate in the future to focus on the inherent safety and dependability of these systems.
What are the challenges of relying on ADAS?
Disadvantages of ADAS include:
- American insurers, in general, do not offer driver discounts for ADAS-fitted vehicles. This is due to a lack of solid data from automobile manufacturers proving increased safety on the road, though some insurance companies have recognized the significant potential of ADAS to reduce the number of driving-relating accidents.
- Choices, training and implementation challenges. While the technology is available on the market, many drivers are overwhelmed with the options in that they don’t know how to choose which would serve them best. Furthermore, even with the installation and implementation of such systems, there is the issue of training drivers to use them to the fullest advantage in order to maximize the risk-limiting factors of the system features.
As technology and vehicle engineering advance, so do ADAS features. These safety systems are now some of the most sought-after features for drivers looking for their next, safer vehicle.