What are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?

2017 Jaguar XJ

Today's cars come equipped with a range of safety features that are designed to enhance the driving experience while also retaining a level of safety that protects lives and minimizes the potential for damage. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems - or ADAS - are designed to automate, enhance and adapt to the actions of the driver. ADAS come in many forms with some features being built in as part of a particular model while others are available as optional equipment.

How Does ADAS Work?

In order to operate effectively, ADAS utilize a variety of information that is gleaned from a number of sources. Data sources that are utilized by vehicles with ADAS include sensors, computer vision, radar and automotive imaging. While additional data mining is possible, for example, from other vehicles - a process known as vehicle-to-vehicle or V2V - or from vehicle to an infrastructure like a wi-fi network, this area is still in its early stages of implementation.

Some Examples of ADAS

The purpose of ADAS is to compensate for driver error and to minimize the chances of a collision or loss of life. Below are some of the most common examples of ADAS found in today's vehicles.

Backup Collision Warning

Even in the most well-designed vehicle, most drivers will experience at least a few blind spots due to differences in height, mobility and other factors. Nowhere is this more evident than when backing up. With the Backup Collision Warning system, ultrasonic sensors scan the area directly behind the vehicle once the reverse gear is engaged. If a pedestrian, animal or other object is detected, an audible or visual warning is emitted.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Cruise control is nothing new as it has been offered on cars for decades. Adaptive cruise control (ACC), however, takes this function much further. In addition to being able to program a predetermined rate of speed, adaptive cruise control enables the driver to set a specific following distance as well. When that distance is breached, the system issues an audible or visual warning.

When coupled with emergency braking capabilities, ACC can also slow the vehicle down if the driver does not take action quickly enough. Another variation has the capability to match the vehicle's speed with the rest of traffic or even stop it completely in the event of an emergency.

Driver Awareness

Drowsy driving is estimated to be the cause of up to 6,000 fatal car accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A fatigue management system is designed to compare data obtained through facial recognition software or other sensors to determine if the driver is too drowsy or distracted to drive. In the event that the system determines that the driver is compromised, a visual and audible warning is issued that urges the driver to pull over. In some vehicles, this system can take over operations and pull safely to the side of the road.

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