The Basics of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)
Technology has continued to evolve and grow throughout our lifetimes and that has led to some pretty amazing advancements in just about everything around us. Our houses are smart. Our schools use individual laptops and tablets. And our vehicles are starting to drive themselves. This is where Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS comes in. These systems are being cultivated, developed and implemented directly on our vehicles, and it’s definitely an amazing thing, especially when we consider just where this type of technology is actually going.
What is ADAS?
First, lets take a look at what th
is system really is. The truth is, ADAS systems can take several different forms with some being used for automatic braking and others for pedestrian crash avoidance. There are even lane centering, blind spot monitoring, land departure warnings, traffic warnings and adaptive cruise control. These are being implemented on different types of vehicles and in different combinations, but they’re definitely creating an amazing experience for drivers. Not to mention they’re making it a whole lot safer for drivers (and pedestrians) to head out on the road.
These systems take a long time to develop, because the computer that runs them is required to constantly evaluate everything that is happening around the vehicle, take into consideration all forms of input and then make a decision about what’s happening, all in the span of milliseconds. Not reacting fast enough would mean that an error could occur or that a potential danger could be missed. This is what happens when humans are allowed to control what’s happening in a specific situation. There is always the potential for human error to cause an injury or a mistake to be made.
When machines are developed to handle these situations they actually take control of the vehicle with absolutely no notice if something is detected. Whether the person driving has even noticed the problem yet is entirely irrelevant and the vehicle will do what needs to be done in order to protect everyone involved. This may mean stopping the vehicle instantly when it detects an obstruction, swerving back into the lane when it detects a departure or automatically adjusting the headlights when it detects a vehicle coming toward it. But these are the more advanced systems.
Less advanced systems in vehicles are designed to let the driver know that there is a problem rather than taking action immediately. These types of systems will send out warnings, beeps, lights or other types of alerts that let the driver know that there is something wrong. Some vehicles have lane departure warning that will kick in before the vehicle moves itself into the correct lane. Some may have speed warnings that let the driver know that they are driving over the speed limit. There are a number of other types of warnings that may occur entirely on their own or that may be used in conjunction with an automatic response.
Why do we want this software? Well, we’ve already mentioned it a little, but the best reason for this type of software is to increase safety for everyone on and near the roadway. Currently, driving involves the risk of what we call human error. Human error means that there is the possibility that the human being driving the vehicle will make a mistake in judgement or a mistake in action that could cause a problem. In some cases this might not be a big problem. A driver may push a little to much on the gas and end up driving 5 miles per hour over but they remain in control. A driver may drive closer to the center line, but they are still in their lane.
While these things are considered human error, they’re not quite the type of things that we worry about. Rather, while ADAS can correct these problems and these types of human error, we’re primarily concerned about major errors. These are the type of errors that could put everyone at risk, such as veering outside of their lane, not noticing a stopped car, not seeing a pedestrian crossing the street or not reacting quickly enough to a vehicle in a blind spot. These types of human errors could cause serious injury or even loss of life.
Developing ADAS is the best way we know of to eliminate these types of errors. After all, if there is no human involved in the decision making, or if the decision can be overridden by a machine, there can’t be human error, right? That’s why so many car companies are looking for ways to implement as many types of ADAS as they possibly can into their vehicles. Even more, the goal is to create entirely self-driving, autonomous vehicles as soon as possible. They’re even being tested in some markets.
When it comes to autonomous vehicles, there are still a lot of concerns however, since the vehicle, as mentioned, needs to be able to continuously monitor and react to everything that is happening around it using sensors and algorithms. This can be extremely difficult, which is why there is so much testing involved and at this point these vehicles aren’t expected on the market anytime soon. But there’s definitely going to be a future where these vehicles are the norm because computerized systems are starting to become stronger and stronger as well as safer and safer. Removing human error could be the best thing possible when it comes to keeping everyone safer on the road.
Built-In vs. Aftermarket
At this point, there are a number of different types of systems out there and many of them are being built directly into the vehicles. New vehicles often have many of the features that we’ve already talked about. But not everyone has the ability to purchase a brand new vehicle. If that’s the case, it means that your vehicle won’t be equipped with some of the top safety features and you and your family may not be as safe when you get behind the wheel. Car companies have realized this (and so has everyone else) and so many people are coming out with aftermarket options.
One of the most popular aftermarket options is what’s known as a back-up camera. After far too many stories hit the news where small children were hit or run over by their parents backing up the vehicle there was an outcry for back-up cameras. These are now standard on all new vehicles in the United States, but that doesn’t help the multitudes of people who aren’t able to purchase a brand new vehicle. As a result, aftermarket back-up cameras have flooded the market and just about everyone is installing them.
Continued Advancements in Place
There’s no telling where these types of advancements are going to keep going (at least, until they reach full automation). At this point, there are still many ‘bugs’ to work out before most states are going to allow completely driverless vehicles to operate on their roads. At this point the testing that’s being done is limited in scope and it’s very limited in where the vehicles are even allowed to be. In the meantime, car manufacturers are looking for more and more ways to make their vehicles safer and this has meant that each new generation of vehicles has more ADAS features than the ones before.
There is no way to adequately discuss all of the amazing features that are being implemented on vehicles right now, but let’s take a quick look at some of the features. Keep in mind that there is no vehicle that combines all of these features as many of them are considered proprietary to a specific manufacturer or for some other reason they haven’t been utilized. Also, these tools and features are used in a range of different combinations by different manufacturers and some are quite new technology.
Just some of the features that are currently being used or developed in some vehicles are:
Adaptive cruise control
Adaptive light control
Auto night vision
Driver drowsiness detection
Driver monitoring system
Emergency driver assistant
Forward collision warning
Glare-free high beams
Hill descent control
Intelligent speed adaptation
Lane departure warning system
Lane change assistance
Pedestrian protection system
Tire pressure monitoring
Traffic sign recognition
Wrong-way driving warning
All of these amazing features are slowly going to combine and will eventually create a vehicle that is far safer than anything we currently have available. Not only that, but they’re going to allow drivers and pedestrians to get to the places they need to go without concern for human error. That’s going to make a huge difference in the way our world and our vehicles operate. Driving is not something that we can do without, at least at this point remote workplaces are not advanced enough to keep everyone at home. That means we need to find ways that we can improve the safety of everyone involved.