What Is an Advanced Driver Assistance System?
Benefits of ADAS
The most significant benefit of ADAS is increased driving safety by reducing human error. Because many of its functions (like lane assistance and night vision support) are associated with avoiding accidents before they happen, ADAS is considered part of a vehicle’s set of “active safety” features.
In 2020, there were 35,766 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the US and more than 5 million collisions. More than a third of these were caused by impaired driving. ADAS can help reduce these numbers by making drivers more aware of potential dangers around them and providing timely interventions to prevent an accident. Interventions can include applying brakes, steering adjustments, and even acceleration to avoid collisions from the rear.
Comprehensive ADAS functionality is becoming essential in modern vehicles. Safety ratings such as NCAP in various regional forms now require ADAS safety features to achieve the highest score. Vehicles without extensive ADAS capabilities can receive a low or no safety score, which will adversely affect sales.
Examples of ADAS Functions
ADAS can provide a wide range of assistance functions, including:
- Blind spot detection, where the system detects vehicles that may be out of direct view via the wing mirror, triggering a driver alert
- Lane departure warning, where ADAS detects the road markings on a highway and notifies the driver when the vehicle strays
- Lane-keep assistance, which goes further than lane departure warnings by proactively correcting steering to ensure the vehicle remains within the carriageway
- Adaptive cruise control, in which the car maintains a set speed but can also detect cars in front and reduce speed if the vehicle ahead of it slows down
- Adaptive headlights, which detect oncoming vehicles and dip sections of the main beams to prevent glare
- 360-degree parking cameras, including a “bird’s eye” view, which stitch together inputs from multiple camera directions into an all-round view
- Automatic parking, where the car maneuvers into a parking space itself with limited driver input
- Cross-traffic alert, which detects oncoming vehicles from the side when reversing out of a parking space
- Active emergency braking, which spots objects in the path of the vehicle and attempts to stop automatically to avoid an accident
- Collision avoidance, which will intervene with steering to prevent an accident or pre-tension seatbelts if a crash is unavoidable.
- Pedestrian and cyclist detection, which supplements active emergency braking and collision avoidance to spot pedestrians and cyclists in the vehicle’s path
- Driver monitoring using driver-facing cameras, which detect distraction caused by drowsiness, for example
Vehicle manufacturers usually bundle their ADAS into branded packages, such as Ford’s CoPilot 360, Toyota’s Safety Sense, and BMW’s Active Driving Assistant.
How ADAS Works
ADAS relies on sensors for details of the vehicle’s surroundings. These sensors include cameras, ultrasonics, radar, LiDAR, windscreen and temperature sensors, and the speedometer. The data from these inputs is processed by software on the vehicle that can interpret it. The results are either displayed to the driver via notifications or triggering a driving intervention.
An ADAS system can provide warning lights on wing mirrors, alerts on the digital cockpit and heads-up display, or additional views on additional screens. Some vehicles even show how the ADAS system is modeling the world around it, including road markings, other vehicles, and features such as traffic cones.
ADAS is a type of edge computing in which the vehicle has significant built-in computing power plus sophisticated software algorithms to enable helpful interpretation of data from sensor inputs.
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