What Is ADAS?

Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are electronic systems in a vehicle that use advanced technologies to assist the driver. They can include many active safety features, and often the terms “ADAS” and “active safety” are used interchangeably.

ADAS uses sensors in the vehicle such as radar and cameras to perceive the world around it, and then either provides information to the driver or takes automatic action based on what it perceives.

ADAS features that provide information will most commonly include “warning” in the name. For example, if the vehicle detects an object such as another vehicle or a cyclist in a location where the driver may not be able to see them, features such as blind spot warning or rear backup warning will alert the driver. Likewise, if the system determines that the vehicle is drifting out of its lane, it could activate lane departure warning to alert the driver.

When these detections are coupled with a technology that takes action beyond a simple warning, ADAS becomes an active safety system – meaning the vehicle will “actively” control braking or steering. These features most commonly include “assistance” in the name.

These features can dramatically increase the effectiveness of ADAS to save lives. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that forward collision warning systems lower front-to-rear crashes by 27%; when the system also includes the ability to automatically brake, that number nearly doubles. Similarly, rearview cameras reduce backing crashes by 17%, but rear automatic braking lowers them by a massive 78%.

ADAS also includes propulsion functions such as adaptive cruise control, which varies speed to ensure that a vehicle maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front of it. More sophisticated ADAS features can even manage steering and propulsion without the need for hands-on control from the driver under certain conditions, such as highway driving or stop-and-go traffic. These are typically referred to as Level 2+ active safety systems, and represent some of the most advanced functionality currently available on the market.

ADAS vs. automated driving

Aptiv views automated driving as on a spectrum with ADAS, with the distinction being the level of driver engagement. In an ADAS system, the driver is still engaged in the act of driving, otherwise known as “in the loop.” Their hands may not need to be on the steering wheel, and their feet may not need to be on the pedals, but they are still ultimately responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle. To help ensure drivers stay engaged, many OEMs will employ driver state sensing systems. In automated driving, the driver is permitted to be “out of the loop,” and the vehicle is in control.

As vehicles take on more ADAS features and build toward automated driving, the resulting increase in software is creating an immediate need for significantly more powerful compute. To accomplish this in a flexible and scalable way, Aptiv’s unique Satellite Architecture approach takes intelligence out of the sensors and centralizes it into one of our powerful domain controllers, increasing performance, reuse and updateability, while reducing sensor mass and volume. This approach is accelerating the adoption of ADAS by enabling new functionality with maximum reuse and lower total cost.

Aptiv is democratizing ADAS through these efficient and scalable platforms, which have the potential to save lives. As we work together with our OEM partners, vendors and others in the industry, ADAS and active safety systems will help make vehicle-related injuries and fatalities a thing of the past.

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