Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) Explained

by TGirmann 24. September 2013 12:30

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS, are systems to help the driver in the driving process. So it was quite interesting the other day to read an article by the Associated Press about a car that was operated solely by a computer recently drove a Pennsylvania congressman to the airport. This is just one example of where ADAS technology is going to take us in the future.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, the chairman of the
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,
gets into a self-driven car in Cranberry, Pa.,
Butler County, on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013.
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

I wanted to give a more in-depth explanation on the functions and technologies for ADAS.

A short list of the functions performed by these systems are lane-departure warning, front and rear proximity, as well as near, far, and side impact warning. The technologies that exist are laser, radar, camera, and GPS. All of these technologies are being tested by vehicle manufacturers. The functionality of the sensors must first and foremost be reliable and accurate. The breakdown of each technology in general terms:

  • Laser for long-range detection of an approaching vehicle for early warning detection for longer distances. The measurements from these sensors are made from moving the sensor in a raster-scanning pattern to measure a vertical space down the road from the host vehicle. This sensor may be mounted on the top of the vehicle or behind the rear view mirror looking forward through the windshield. These sensors may also be rotated for a 360 degree view around the vehicle. A relatively small divergence of 0.2 degrees means the advantage of a small beam footprint can be used for longer ranges.
  • Radar for short-range detection of an approaching target for front, rear, and side proximity impact warning for shorter distances. These sensors are positioned in an array spaced a specific distance apart. The inherent large divergence of 10 degrees ensures a large coverage area at short range.
  • Camera for lane departure warning as well as short and long distance early warning detection. Smart pixel technology analyzes changes in colors, say from a white divider line to unmarked blacktop for lane departure warning. Smart pixel technology can also easily detect and recognize other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • GPS installed in more than one vehicle allows one vehicle to constantly monitor the position of others for collision avoidance at any distance or position. This would require all vehicles on the road to “communicate” to be effective.

Scrambled or blocked signals, adverse ambient conditions, polluted lenses on cameras and laser sensors, reading errors, as well as faulty systems can cause reliability problems. The concern for automated vehicles is that today’s technology is not advanced enough to substitute for the human driver. Car manufacturers recommended these systems only as a secondary source to enhance safety and the driving experience. As these systems become more commonplace consumer demand and advancements in technology will naturally continue to increase (remember not too long ago when the term Air Bag meant an obnoxious person and All Wheel Drive meant a 4X4 pickup truck!)

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