Safety Benefits

How will automation protect vehicle occupants?

advanced driver assistance systems

The ultimate safety benefit of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) is simple: Lives will be saved, injuries will be prevented and lessened, and crashes will be reduced. As many as 40,000 people died on U.S. roadways in 2016 alone, according to preliminary data from the National Safety Council. Approximately 94 percent of those deaths were the result of human error. Improved technology means opportunities for human error will continue to decrease, thus saving lives and preventing injuries.

How exactly will ADAS technologies improve safety? The answer depends on the specific system, but vehicle safety technologies serve three primary functions:

  • Aid
  • Warn
  • Assist

Systems that aid

Systems that aid drivers include back-up cameras and adaptive headlights. These features improve visibility for drivers and show hazards in otherwise hard-to-see areas around a vehicle. The images are captured by cameras and sensors. These technologies already exist in many vehicles and soon will be a standard feature on all cars.

Warning Features

Warning Features do just that: Warn the driver about hazards that might be in their path. Examples include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot detection and drowsy driver detection systems. Warnings are relayed to drivers through audible alerts or vibrations. Hazards are most often detected through the use of cameras and radar sensors.

Assist technologies

Assist technologies take on a more active role to help the driver. Some of the assist features include automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control (a version of cruise control that maintains your speed and set following distance) and automatic parallel or perpendicular parking. Cameras and radar sensors all help make these technologies possible. However, it is important to note that these features do not replace the role of the person behind the wheel. An attentive, defensive driver remains a necessary component of all vehicles featuring ADAS technologies.

A study published in 2016 in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention says the safety benefits of ADAS technologies will be significant. Researchers determined that if every car were equipped with blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warnings and forward collision warnings, the technologies “could prevent or reduce the severity of as many as 1.3 million crashes annually, including 133,000 injury crashes and 10,100 fatal crashes.” Drivers whose vehicles have ADAS technology stand to benefit from improved visibility, better advance warnings, the ability for a vehicle to take control in an emergency situation, and more comprehensive tools for driving in bad weather or poor road conditions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also expects significant safety benefits because of ADAS technologies. An IIHS study from 2016 found that back-up cameras reduced backing crashes by 16 percent and particularly benefited drivers age 70 and older.

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