What is the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS)?

Advanced driver assistance system, commonly called ADAS, refers to a group of technologies that help drivers in parking and driving functions. By providing a safe human-machine interface, ADAS enhances road and car safety. ADAS employ automated technologies like cameras and sensors to detect driver errors and nearby obstacles in modern vehicles and respond accordingly.

A Brief History of ADAS

The advanced driver assistance system’s development did not start now or yesterday. It dates back to 1948 when auto manufacturers made the first cruise control. From the 1950s to the 2000s, Original Equipment Manufacturers have been working on further developing cruise control systems, leading to the introduction of laser-based and electronic versions.

Driverless vehicles began appearing later on. In 2010, Google Car emerged, followed by Mercedes Bertha in 2011. Today, the world has many cars with vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications.

Nevertheless, determining when or if self-driving vehicles will gain popularity is not easy. But international organizations and states should define universal autonomous driving regulations for the world to achieve this dream.

What is the Purpose of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?

ADAS are active and passive safety systems that eliminate human error when operating different types of vehicles. ADAS systems assist drivers while on the road, thereby improving their performance. Ideally, advanced driver assistance systems combine sensor technologies to see or perceive the vehicle’s surroundings and provide relevant information that guides the driver. In some cases, ADAS can take action if or when necessary. Carmakers are applying ADAS systems to trucks, buses, and cars. Some construction, military, and farming vehicles come with ADAS too.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration observed that automobile accidents killed over 36,000 Americans in 2019 alone. In August 2016, the Traffic Safety Fact Research Note indicated that human error caused 94% of those accidents.

Considering this reality, somebody can easily imagine the number of lives humans can save by using effective ADAS systems to prevent these errors. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hints that the currently available ADAS technology can lessen or avoid the impacts of 1.8 million accidents each year. What’s more, they might save up to 10,000 lives annually.

Modern vehicles come with different ADAS levels, from blind-spot warning sensors and backup cameras to adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and self-parking, among others. Truly autonomous or self-driving cars will be the ultimate ADAS extension. These vehicles won’t need a human driver to operate them. However, ADAS safety features make driving safer even before the world gets fully autonomous cars.

Tech companies worldwide are spending billions of dollars investing in ADAS technologies’ development. Currently, you might not find a car manufacturer that doesn’t budget for ADAS technology. Every truck, car, or bus manufacturer is rushing to develop the best ADAS technology.

How ADAS Works

ADAS alters the driver or even takes action to prevent an accident. Vehicles with ADAS systems can sense its surrounding, process the information, and provide a correct output accurately and quickly to the driver.

A vehicle with an effective ADAS system has many advanced sensors, augmenting the driver’s ears, eyes, and decision-making capabilities. For instance, a human driver might not see well in the dark. However, the RADAR can do so. While a human driver can’t echolocate like a dolphin or a bat to determine if a car has another vehicle behind it, SONAR sensors can do this.

Modern vehicles have an ADAS system whose architecture comprises many interfaces, sensors, and computer processors. All these technologies integrate data and convey it to the human driver enabling them to make informed real-time decisions.

The ADAS system uses sensors to constantly examine the surroundings and provide the information to ADAS computers for action and prioritization. Today, ADAS save lives by preventing collisions that would happen if vehicles didn’t have these systems.

Benefits of ADAS

ADAS minimize human error, thereby reducing road fatalities. Safety features offer technologies that alert human drivers about problems, implement safeguards, and control cars if necessary, thereby preventing collisions and accidents. Here’s a summary of advanced driver assistance systems’ benefits.

  • ADAS works as a visible co-pilot: The primary purpose of ADAS is to warn the human driver about a potentially hazardous road condition. By doing this, advanced driver assistance systems make driving safer.
  • Saving on fuel consumption: Vehicles with innovative ADAS technologies change the vehicle’s driving style. And this reduces fuel consumption by up to 15%.
  • Improving driving style: ADAS comes with features that enable drivers to embrace a safe and balanced driving style which gives the human driver more confidence.
  • Maintenance cost reduction: Advanced driver assistance systems reduce vehicle maintenance costs by up to 6%. That’s because they minimize some of the wear factors of tires and brake pads. Also, fewer and less severe accidents reduce vehicle damage and repair costs.

Considering the benefits of ADAS, you might wonder why they are not standard on all vehicles. This kind of reasoning also prompted the European Parliament to back the idea of having all cars in Europe have life-saving technologies as their standards. The European Union has stated 19 safety measures that all new vehicles should feature.

These include:

  • Autonomous emergency brake
  • Electronic brake force distribution
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Intelligence speed assistance
  • Parking assistance technologies

Most vehicles have these technologies. However, ADAS technologies are prevalent in some car makes and models than others. Therefore, pay attention to what a car features before purchasing to get the most from ADAS.