By Dave Bean, FMW Associate Editor
August 23, 2023
According to research results in a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems – more commonly referred to as ADAS – could prevent upwards of 37 million vehicle accidents over the next 30 years. Further, by preventing these crashes, nearly 250,000 lives could be saved during this timeframe. To drive the point further, without ADAS usage, the AAA Foundation predicts that roughly 900,000 people will die in traffic accidents in the next 30 years.
While ADAS features are fairly commonplace now on new vehicle models, it still isn’t clear to many motorists exactly what they are and how to use them properly. To clarify, these are the features most frequently included when discussing ADAS*:
- Adaptive Cruise Control: Cruise control that also assists with acceleration and braking to maintain a driver-selected gap to the vehicle in front. Some systems can come to a stop and continue, while others cannot.
- Automatic Emergency Braking: Detects potential collisions with a vehicle ahead, provides forward collision warning, and automatically brakes to avoid a collision or lessen the severity of impact. Some systems also detect pedestrians or other objects.
- Blind Spot Monitoring: Detects vehicles in the blind spot while driving and notifies the driver of their presence. Some systems provide an additional warning if the driver activates the turn signal.
- Forward Collision Warning: Detects a potential collision with a vehicle ahead and alerts the driver. Some systems also provide alerts for pedestrians or other objects.
- Lane Departure Warning: Monitors vehicle’s position within the driving lane and alerts the driver as the vehicle approaches or crosses lane markers.
- Lane Keeping Assistance: Provides steering support to assist the driver in keeping the vehicle in the lane. The system reacts only when the vehicle approaches or crosses a lane line or road edge.
“The findings from this latest study on the AAA Foundation’s work in emerging technologies suggest that ADAS have the potential to transform road safety,” said Dr. David Yang, President and Executive Director of the AAA Foundation. “However, the full safety benefits of ADAS will not be realized unless they are fully understood by the consumer, used properly, and widely adopted.”
One of the more common misconceptions among new vehicle buyers is the confusion that exists regarding the capabilities of ADAS features. An example of this is Adaptive Cruise Control, where many drivers are under the impression that this feature is the equivalent of a self-driving car – a technology that is still in the early days of development and not yet a feature available to present-day car buyers.
This misconception has already led to many car crashes and deaths on U.S. highways and will only increase unless automakers take steps to better educate and inform new vehicle buyers. The AAA Foundation is urging vehicle manufacturers to standardize the nomenclature assigned to new tech safety features which would allow for more consistent education about ADAS capabilities.
For more details on the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research findings or to download the full report, click here.
*ADAS definitions provided by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety