Advanced Driver Assistance Systems: What is ADAS and More

ADAS Definition

Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are any group of vehicle technologies that aid drivers by reducing human error to increase safety both within the vehicle and on the road. These systems automate certain processes to adapt to changing conditions of the road and driver behavior, while reducing accidents and road fatalities.

The earliest form of advanced driver-assistance systems emerged in the 1950s with the implementation of anti-lock brakes. These systems now include such things as electronic stability control, blind spot alerts, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and traction control.

How Does ADAS Work?

Through the use of LIDAR (laser imaging, detection, and ranging), radars, digital image processing, and other sensory systems, ADAS integrates these numerous data sources to compare the exterior and interior environment of a vehicle. These systems read data in real-time, giving drivers immediate alerts if they are veering into another lane or not paying attention to the road, or even adjust the traction of vehicle if the system determines unsafe road conditions.

SAE International has defined six different levels of ADAS as determined by the level of automation, from zero to five:

  • Level 0: There is no actual automation; the vehicle systems might alert the driver of dangerous conditions, but it has no active control over the vehicle driving environment.
  • Level 1: The system will assist the driver in certain situations, controlling speed (cruise control/adaptive cruise control), adjusting for lane departures (lane-keeping assistance), and braking if the vehicle system determines the possibility of an imminent collision (automatic emergency braking). The driver must always have their hands on the wheel.
  • Level 2: The autonomous system has the ability to take full control of the car, including steering, braking, and accelerating, but the driver is expected to monitor the road and be ready to take control at any moment — these systems require that drivers always have their hands on the steering wheel.
  • Level 3: Nicknamed the “eyes off” level, this stage of automation allows drivers to perform other tasks, such as using their phones or even watching a video. The system acts as a co-pilot in a way — alerting the driver when they need to again take control of the vehicle.
  • Level 4: Stepping up the amount of control once again, this level allows drivers to take a nap or even leave the driver’s seat — but the system must allow drivers the ability to take control at any point.
  • Level 5: In level 5 autonomous vehicles, steering wheels are optional. Not only is no human interaction needed to perform all in-vehicle duties, in these vehicles, it is not even an option.

ADAS Features

ADAS features include alerts and warnings, crash mitigation, driving task assistance, and visual and environmental monitoring. These varying features can include something as simple as a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that warns drivers of low tire pressure or as intricate as lane departure system that corrects the driver behavior and moves the vehicle back into the right lane.

These systems can also include blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, back-up cameras, parking sensors, electronic stability control, traction control systems, and even the navigation system that comes standard in most vehicles today. ADAS can reduce the accident rate by automatically lowering speeds, applying automatic braking, or alerting drivers when they are not paying attention to the road.

What is ADAS Calibration?

Whenever any of the components of a vehicle’s ADAS are disturbed in any way, the system needs to be calibrated. Something as simple as a sensor being disturbed during a minor accident can throw off the entire system, resulting in incorrect information being relayed to the driver.

When any component of a vehicle’s ADAS is disturbed in any way — whether minor or major — the system must go through a calibration process. This service must be performed at a maintenance center that is outfitted with the proper equipment. Basic ADAS calibration kits include diagnostic tablets, calibration fixtures, calibration targets, and calibration kit accessories.

ADAS Advantages

ADAS provides several benefits to fleets, as well as the general public, including drivers without these systems. The advantages include:

  • Improved driver safety: These systems help reduce on-road accidents and fatalities by not only providing real-time alerts to drivers of imminent risks, but also taking control in certain situations to stop an accident before it happens.
  • Reduced insurance costs: Some insurance companies factor ADAS into your premiums, resulting in lower policy costs. These savings multiplied over a fleet of vehicles can result in huge annual savings.

Disadvantages of ADAS

While saving lives and reducing budgets is a huge benefit to fleets, they also need to be wary of certain disadvantages of ADAS as well. For example, not all insurance companies give discounts for this type of technology. It is important to do your research before spending the extra dollars on your vehicle fleet. While many of these systems are becoming standard equipment on most vehicles, there are still some added costs associated with certain ADAS technologies.

Training is also needed to ensure that drivers are not only using the systems correctly, but to make sure they are not relying on them too much at the same time. These systems are not perfect, and fleet drivers need to understand their limitations.

How Does LifeSaver Mobile Supplement ADAS Systems?

ADAS is complementary to mobile distraction technology in that it works hand-in-hand together as part of a holistic driver safety approach. Three approaches to commercial driver safety include: Stop, Warn and/or Coach, where ADAS functions in the realm of “Warn”. ADAS does not replace mobile distraction prevention technology, but can work together with a solution like LifeSaver Mobile to help with distracted driving prevention.