What Does ADAS Mean and How Does It Affect You?

Motor vehicles have come a long way since their inception. Today, many new vehicles are loaded with a host of advanced systems that are meant to help make driving easier, safer, and more enjoyable. The addition of ADAS, for example, is meant to help improve the driver’s capability on the roads and the dangers they might find there.

Many different types of ADAS are in place, and we will be looking at many of them below. First, though, you need to have a better understanding of what they are and how they work.

What Are ADAS?

ADAS stands for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems. They are technological features that are designed to increase safety for drivers, passengers, and others on the road. Although there are different types of systems, they all tend to work toward increasing reaction time and safety with either automated systems or early warning systems that give the drivers more time to react.

Some of these systems are built into vehicles today and come standard. Others are options, and there are even aftermarket features and systems that could be added for those who want them.

The Early Days of ADAS

ADAS are relatively new to automobiles, but they have been around in one form or another since 2000. Some of the earliest systems that started to gain traction and attention in the media were the night vision for the Cadillac Deville and the Dynamic Laser Cruise Control for Toyota, both in 2000. Later, other systems were created and implemented, such as lane assist, lane-keeping assist, and lane departure warnings.

However, even before the technologically advanced systems of the last 20 years or so, there were mechanical technologies that were used back in the 1970s. This was when the first electrical anti-lock braking systems were used.

These early systems have evolved over the years, and they are common in vehicles today. Many other safety technologies have been invented and implemented. These new systems are being created and integrated, changing the landscape of automobiles in the world. In the United States, new vehicles are required to have rear-view cameras as of 2018.

How Do ADAS Work?

Newer vehicles come with ADAS of different types, and they seem to be updated every year or so with new features. The systems tend to have multiple data inputs that help to provide the various safety features. This includes automotive imaging, which features sensors that try to mimic the human eye and provide views all around the car, systems that can increase visibility in bad weather and lighting, and so much more. The data helps the other systems in the car provide warnings or to react autonomously.

There are two main types of ADAS. The first category helps to automate driving, such as automatic braking systems. Some improve the awareness of drives, such as warning systems for lane departures.

Why Are ADAS Important?

Do we really need all of this technology in our vehicles? As much as many people might enjoy the old “analog” method of getting behind the wheel and driving, humans make mistakes—a lot of mistakes. Most accidents on the road happen because of human error. The use of the ADAS helps to reduce those accidents by reducing the types of errors that are made that cause risks on the road.

The ADAS are important because they help to increase safety on the road. They reduce vehicle-related accidents, which reduce the number of injuries and deaths. They can also help to reduce insurance claims for smaller accidents where there might be property damage but no physical injuries.

Drivers who have vehicles with these systems in them tend to be safer on the road because of those systems, not necessarily because they are better drivers. They have warnings and alerts, adaptive features, and self-calibrating sensors. Of course, despite the advantages, there are a few potential issues that can come from ADAS.

Are There Any Issues with ADAS?

You will find that typically, the issues aren’t about the systems as much as they are about outside factors. Although the technology is readily available, many car buyers don’t take the time to learn about these features and how they function. They don’t use them to their full advantage, and they don’t know how to choose a vehicle with systems that are going to be right for them.

One of the other potential drawbacks is that insurance companies don’t entirely understand these systems yet. This means that not all insurance companies will offer discounts for those drivers who have them in their vehicles. While this isn’t a negative against ADAS, it goes to show that not everyone understands these technologies quite yet.

Types of ADAS

As mentioned, there are many different types of ADAS available for motor vehicles. Below are some of the most common. You may come across these terms when you are shopping for a new car. Learn what they mean and how they could help your safety on the road.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive cruise control is a helpful tool for those who are on the highway, where drivers sometimes have trouble monitoring their speed and the speed of other vehicles. With this type of cruise control technology in place, the vehicle will speed up, slow down, and can even stop the vehicle based on what’s happening in the surrounding area on the roadway with other vehicles.

Adaptive Headlights

Adaptive headlight control is an ADAS that will change the headlight position based on the movement of the steering wheel. In some cases, it can change the position based on the speed of the vehicle. How does this help? Consider how normal headlight systems work while on the road. They are stationary. However, these headlights can pivot and move, which can improve your overall visibility while driving at night on curving roads.

In some cases, they can do more than just change the position of the headlights. They can also change the strength of the headlights depending on how dark it is and how much light is needed.

Glare-Free High Beam and Pixel Light

These sensors work similarly to adaptive headlights. They can pick up the amount of light in the area and adjust to how dark it is surrounding the vehicle. It can do this without causing any visibility issues for other cars on the road that are approaching you. The system can detect the lights of other vehicles and it can redirect the vehicle’s lights away so others on the road aren’t blinded.

Anti-Lock Brake Systems

As mentioned, this was one of the first systems that could be considered ADAS, even though it is an older, mechanical version. Most vehicles today have ABS. This system modulates the brake pressure when you put on the brakes for a fast, emergency stop. It ensures that the wheels do not lock up, while you can still stop the car quickly and safely.

Forward Collision Warning

This system uses cameras and radar and/or lasers to scan the road in front of the car. It will provide the driver with an alert if they are approaching a vehicle in front of them too quickly. The type of alert can vary based on the system and vehicle. It might be haptic feedback in the steering wheel, an audible sound, and/or a visual indication.

Traction Control

This is an active safety system that helps to keep traction between the tires and the road when the conditions are slippery or dangerous. There are sensors in the tires called yaw sensors. They monitor the tires to see how they are behaving on the road. If one of them starts to spin too quickly, it indicates a problem with traction. The system will then slow the speed of the vehicle to help regain traction. This system works well with the ABS.

Traffic Sign Recognition

This is an interesting ADAS. The system can “see” road signs with the integrated cameras and then displays them to the driver in the vehicle, who may not have noticed them. The screen will generally be found near the instrument cluster.

The system can also understand the sign and can provide feedback to the driver if they are not following the rules displayed on the sign. For example, if they are going into a space with a Do Not Enter sign or if they are going about the posted speed limit, the system can provide feedback and warnings.

Lane Departure Warnings

Lane departure warning systems use cameras that are attached to your vehicle to track the lane markings on the road. The camera can detect when your vehicle does outside of its lane. When this occurs, you will receive a warning that lets you know that you are drifting out of your lane.

Pedestrian Detection and Avoidance

These are advanced systems that make use of computers and artificial intelligence technology to allow for the recognition of pedestrians and bicyclists on the road and in the path of the automobile. It can alert the driver, so they can apply the brakes in time to avoid an accident. The system can automatically apply the brakes, as well, if the driver doesn’t hit them in time.

Automatic Parking

Automatic parking systems can help to let drivers park more easily. It can let them know about blind spots, so they can better gauge how and when to turn the steering wheel. Many vehicles today have rearview cameras, which help to aid in the automatic parking features. Some systems can help with the parking with the use of various sensors.

Autonomous Valet Parking

This is a new technology that has similar results as automatic parking, but that uses different systems. It utilizes vehicle sensor meshing, 5G network, and cloud services that manage autonomous vehicles. The sensors provide the vehicle with location information, which allows it to determine where it needs to go and how to get there. The system can handle the driving, braking, and steering to park the vehicle. This is advanced tech, and it’s not in a lot of vehicles yet.

Night Vision

This is one of the more interesting types of ADAS that come with certain vehicles. The night vision systems help drivers to better see things that might be hard or impossible to see while they are driving at night. There are two types of systems in place today—active and passive. The active systems send out IR light, while the passive systems utilize thermal energy from vehicles, animals, etc. The driver can then see what’s in front of them.

There are currently several different types of display types. Some systems have an LCD near the instrument cluster. This is the newest option, and it works well. There are also options for night vision through the nav system or information screen. This is the least expensive option. There is also an option for a heads-up display on the windshield.

Crosswind Stabilization

This is a newer system that can help vehicles that are in strong winds that may cause a disturbance while driving. The sensors detect strong crosswinds that could be dangerous and will then apply brakes to the wheels that are affected by the crosswinds. It is meant to help provide more safety and a smoother driving experience in heavy winds hitting the side of the car or truck.

The Future of ADAS

Above, we’ve discussed just some of the most common and impressive ADAS. They are quickly becoming some of the most important features of vehicles.

It’s safe to say that we are still in the early days of ADAS. These systems, as incredible as they have become in the past couple of decades, are just getting started. We will continue to see increased reliability of these systems, as well as reduced costs. More and more systems will start to become commonplace in the vehicles that are being manufactured. We are likely to see newer and better systems being created, as well. This will eventually mean more and better autonomous vehicles, so it’s helpful to be informed. 

Resources:

https://www.caranddriver.com/research/a31880412/adas/

https://www.synopsys.com/automotive/what-is-adas.html 

https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/traction-control/ 

Written by Strut Daddy's

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