What is ADAS and Why is it Important?

authorBy Shreya

Advanced driver assistance systems are technological safety features that aim to reduce accidents and mishaps caused by driver negligence. This allows the driver to take control of their car more quickly, improving their ability to react to road hazards. You've probably heard of ADAS features like cruise control, lane keep assist, emergency braking, and others. We'll go through what they are and how they work in detail below. The NHTSA and other organizations have made ADAS features mandatory in their vehicle safety ratings. Vehicles having a high level of ADAS technology are more likely to be granted the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ than non-ADAS vehicles.

How do ADAS work?

It uses Autonomous application solutions that are divided into multiple chips known as SoCs (systems on a chip). These chips use interfaces and high-performance ECUs to connect sensors to actuators (electronic controller units). Nowadays, most vehicles come with standard ADAS features, which use these microcontrollers, sensors, and video systems to convey signals of reflected objects ahead, to the side, and to the rear of the car. This technology can react physically faster than a human driver could.

Which systems does ADAS include?

1. Lane Departure Warning

The system detects and informs the driver if the vehicle is accidentally swerving into an adjacent lane. LDW achieves this by monitoring the trajectory of the drive route and identifying road divider lines with a camera at the front of the vehicle. The driver is typically alerted via an audio warning, which is often combined with a visual cue such as an indicator light or an illuminated icon in the gauge cluster. Many systems additionally include haptic warnings, such as steering wheel vibrations. It is a passive system and does not interfere actively to prevent lane departure. Instead, it relies on the driver to make the appropriate steering and braking adjustments to return the vehicle to its designated lane.

2. Forward Collision Warning

It warns drivers when they are about to collide with an object or another car in their route. FCW attempts to reduce the amount of rear-end incidents that occur when an unexpected vehicle or object abruptly enters your path, leaving you with insufficient time to brake. Forward Collision Warning monitors the road ahead using radar, camera, and laser technology. When the gap between your vehicle and an approaching object is closing too quickly, FCW systems warn drivers to brake. Drivers receive audio and/or visual warnings from FCW. Some variants even include haptic warnings in the form of seat or steering wheel vibration.

3. Blind Spot Monitoring

Sensors in blind spot detection systems provide important information to drivers that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to get. Certain systems sound an alarm when they identify an object in the driver's blind zone, such as when the driver attempts to move into an occupied lane or when there are other vehicles approaching in the blind spot.

4. Rear Cross Traffic Alert

While reversing out of a parking place, this system detects approaching vehicles or objects from both sides. Furthermore, this system detects and informs the driver when objects or people move from behind. The system uses two corner radar sensors mounted on the rear bumper. The sensors calculate the distance, driving path, and speed of approaching vehicles, and/or pedestrians. Furthermore, when the system detects other road users crossing in front of the automobile, either from the left or right, it automatically alerts the driver. The range here is typically 50 meters.

5. Lane Keep Assist

If you start crossing a lane without signaling, this technology will gently pull your vehicle back into the lane. A lane departure camera, infrared sensors, and lasers give sensory data that is used to power lane-assist technology. Typically, the camera is located in the front of the vehicle or in the rearview mirror. However, in other vehicles, the camera is mounted on the back of the vehicle. The camera converts road lines into visual data that the onboard computer can read in real time.

What if there are no road lane markings?

Lane keep assist relies on painted lane markings to operate. Lane keep assist will not function if there are no lane markers or if they are obstructed. Lane keeping assist uses the lane departure warning feature, which analyses lane markers, to identify whether the vehicle is leaving or has left the lane.

6. Lane Centering

This technology not only keeps you in the lane, but also centers you within it. Lane-centering help is the most advanced level of lane monitoring technology currently. It uses automated steering to make continual modifications depending on road marking info from the front-mounted camera.

7. Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is especially useful on the highway, where drivers often struggle to keep track of their speed and other vehicles for extended periods of time. Depending on the actions of other objects in the surrounding area, advanced cruise control can automatically accelerate, slow down, and sometimes stop the car. These days there are also vehicles equipped with a stop-and-go function, which automatically brings the vehicle to a complete stop behind another car and accelerates back up to speed of the traffic.

8. Driver Drowsiness Detection

Driver drowsiness detection alerts drivers to sleepiness or other potential road distractions. There are various ways to tell if a driver's concentration is waning. The sensors used for this technology can assess the driver's head movement and pulse rate to see if they indicate drowsiness. Other systems send out driver alerts comparable to lane detection warning signals.

9. Auto Emergency Braking

Automatic emergency braking uses sensors to determine whether the driver is about to collide with another car or other roadside objects. This device detects nearby vehicles and alerts the driver to potential hazards. There are two variants on this: auto braking (collision mitigation), which slows or stops the car before a collision, and auto braking, which slows or stops the vehicle fully to avoid a collision.

10. Automatic Parking

Automatic parking alerts drivers to blind areas, allowing them to know when to turn the steering wheel and come to a complete stop. Rearview cameras provide a greater view of the surroundings than typical side mirrors. By merging the data of several sensors, some systems may even finish parking without the driver's assistance.

11. 5G and V2X

This hot new 5G ADAS technology, with better reliability and decreased latency, allows communication between vehicles (V2V), vehicles and infrastructure (V2I), and vehicles and other road users are all part of V2X technology. Today, millions of automobiles are linked to cellular networks for real-time navigation. This application will boost situational awareness by enhancing existing methods and the cellular network, controlling or recommending speed adjustments to account for traffic congestion, and updating GPS maps with real-time updates. V2X is essential to allow over-the-air (OTA) software updates for the increasingly diverse variety of software-driven systems in vehicles, including map updates, bug fixes, system updates, and more.

12. Auto High Beams

When it detects a vehicle ahead, this system automatically switches the headlights from high to low beam. The use of high beams frequently allows for earlier detection of pedestrians, resulting in safer driving. It makes use of a front-mounted camera in the upper area of the windshield. If an approaching or leading vehicle is identified, the headlights will automatically switch from high to low beam. If the oncoming vehicle is no longer present, or if the leading vehicle is a safe distance ahead, the headlight setting will be reset to high beam. The High Beam Assist system will operate when the vehicle is traveling at speeds of 19 mph (30 km/h) or higher.

What are the levels of ADAS?

SAE International (formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers) and the NHTSA recognize six tiers of autonomous driving capability in cars:

Level 0 - No Automation :

Everything is manual and controlled by the driver. There is absolutely no technological assistance.

Level 1 - Basic Assistance :

This ADAS can sometimes help the human driver with steering, braking, and acceleration — but not both at the same time. For example: Cruise Control - Controls the speed without braking.

Level 2 - Partial Automation :

In this case, some features work together to perform slightly complex actions. However, driver focus and attention is required at all times. For example : GM’s SuperCruise, Ford’s BlueCruise, Tesla Autopilot - controls acceleration, braking and does small steering adjustments but requires the driver to be attentive with hands on the steering wheel.

Level 3 - Conditional Automation :

From this level, computer intervention is more dominant than human intervention. Here, complete driver attention is not required but the driver may need to take control at a moment’s notice. For example : Audi’s Traffic Jam Assist and Mercedes’s Drive Pilot - Driver does not need to keep eyes on the road at all times but should be ready for intervention. Although the tech is here, Level 3 is not allowed in the USA since legislations are required to be put in place before manufacturers are allowed to implement the tech.

Level 4 - High Driving Automation :

This is a vehicle which can drive itself. This tech will be advanced enough to cancel the need for steering and pedals although driver intervention may be required. The driver of the vehicle can take a nap as well since if the system fails, Level 4 vehicles are designed to stop or take countermeasures. However, a level 4 vehicle will be restricted to a certain place since geofencing is required for complete autonomy.

Level 5 - Full Automation :

At this level, like the level 4 vehicles, the vehicle can drive itself with no driver intervention at all. It will nullify the need for a driver as well. These vehicles won’t be limited like level 4 vehicles by geofencing and can drive anywhere. The industry is moving towards full automation of vehicles in the next few decades which would be Level 5 Autonomy.

What does ADAS don't do?

  • Current ADAS technology does not support fully autonomous driving – at least not yet. Even the most modern ADAS vehicles, which let you take your hands off the steering wheel in certain scenarios, are classified as only Level 2 automation by SAE International. Audi's most recent attempt to equip its vehicle with limited Level 3 automation (in which the car can take over driving under certain conditions and notify the driver to restore control if necessary) failed.
  • It is impossible for car sensor and video systems to operate at optimum levels 100 percent of the time. Rain, snow, and other weather conditions can cause the sensors to malfunction. Potholes and asphalt fractures on the road might potentially trigger false notifications.

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