Every year there are more drivers on the road, which creates congested traffic and potentially unsafe conditions. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to cooperate with other vehicles on the road, but assistant systems can enable a new level of performance. Let’s take a look at how Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) empower your car in a whole new way.
Introduction to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are the key components in the new frontier in safety, mobility, and connectivity. ADAS uses multiple technological features like cameras, sensors, and connectivity features to make cars semi-autonomous, the first step in creating autonomous vehicles.
With ADAS technology, cellular networks are essential for the highest driver assistance systems but not always required. However, it’s crucial that ADAS keeps its users connected through phone towers so cars and drivers can experience low latency, high reliability, high capacity, higher data rates, better coverage, edge computing, dynamic policies, and much more.
Challenges Associated with ADAS
ADAS technology isn’t as advanced as it will be in the next 10 years due to the many roadblocks it faces, like higher heat distribution due to multiple electronic components and cost. Cooling components are rapidly making their rounds in semi-autonomous cars, but drivers need to be careful not to override their circuit boards or engine.
It’s difficult for industries to invest in this technology because the focus, as of 2021, is still audio, telematics, and climate control. However, with the base price for cars staying stable, semiconductor companies and suppliers may see pressure from original-equipment manufacturers to keep ADAS costs low, even when it becomes standard.
Technology advances at a fast rate. A few years ago, forward-collision warning systems could not identify objects at a rapid speed, but now, plenty can. Typical ADAS applications include different technology to create it, but processors, sensors, software algorithms, and mapping stand out as the most important.
- Processors: Microcontroller units (MCUs) and electronic control units (ECUs) are essential for autonomous driving. Multicore architectures will give off higher frequencies and, in turn, use less power.
- Sensors: Multiple sensors gather information in their immediate environment, like incoming cars and pedestrians. The range available to these sensors is continually expanding, and will be able to see through fog and rain in a few years. The fusion of images and nonimages is still tricky for ADAS sensors.
- Software Algorithms: Running on both MCUs and ECUs, software algorithms will use input from the sensors to create an environment that surrounds the vehicle as you drive. These algorithms will give output to the driver and explains how it may interfere with vehicle control.
- Mapping: If GPS coverage fails, like when you’re driving in a tunnel, mapping will take over to prevent accidents. After you drive through a location once, the ADAS stores that information to ensure that accidents don’t occur on the same road at a later date.
The evolving competitive environment will see a faster surge in this technology to the point that multiple well-known car brands are selling cars with ADAS packages.
ADAS Use Cases and Safety
There are three main reasons people buy or invest in ADAS technology. Coupled with cellular networks like 5G, ADAS becomes safer and more user-friendly.
Improves Road Safety and Efficiency
The primary purpose of ADAS is to make driving safer for the driver, passengers, and pedestrians. Sensors inside the vehicle can indicate if an object is near your car, while the software algorithm will stop the vehicle immediately to produce the least amount of harm. ADAS is also competent at noticing and reacting to: low brake lights, speed advisories, curve speed warnings, pedestrian warnings, and red light violations.
Cloud Solutions Improve Driver Awareness
Using satellite and cellular technology, ADAS can take an aerial view of the area you’re driving towards or can send you a notification hours prior to when you’ll take that route. Drivers can see if a bicycle is approaching, road working signs are present, road accidents are ahead, traffic is dense, or emergency vehicles are in the area. You can effectively plan your route ahead of time instead of guessing how long or how difficult your commute will be.
Emergency Services Within Reach
Driver assistance isn’t a new concept, but ADAS improves this technology by making it faster and more collaborative. Regular drivers can benefit from immediate crash reports if the system fails, but emergency services will have more need for driver assistance. Police, firefighters, and EMTs can use video sharing from emergency calls, aqua planning, and pedestrian warning systems to keep others safe at high speeds.
Technology More In-Depth: How ADAS Comes Together
While the four main components (processors, sensors, software algorithm, and mapping) come together to form ADAS, there are still more parts of this technology that improves driver safety.
Vehicles may use as little as one camera and as many as nine to fully locate objects around them. As technology develops, more cameras are added to the outside because intricate recording devices become more accessible and inexpensive. Cameras are capable of surround sound, lane recognition, object tracking, blind spot identification, and so much more.
Camera visibility is essential to the operation of ADAS and often comes with thermal management and alignment adhesives to adjust the view if necessary. They are necessary to ADAS because they deliver information to the driver and onboard computer.
Radars are used for measuring metrics like distance and speed. They are placed on both the front and rear fenders, but some manufacturers will also put them behind the branding emblems and on the sides of the wing mirrors. The more radars that are on the vehicle, the more accurate they become at initiating emergency braking, cruise control, and reading collision warnings.
As heat distribution becomes more advanced, more radars are added to the vehicle. Smaller and more efficient radars are more common than they were 5 years ago, but they are only as useful as the thermal interface materials and liquid gasket solutions.
Ultrasonic sensors work similarly to radars because they also help determine distance and speed but do so through soundwaves instead of satellite imaging specifically. Sensors take over at a short distance or low speed because they’re useful for self-parking, parking assistance, and blind-spot detection. Most new vehicles already have ultrasonic sensor technology.
Sensors will use a monitor and control pad to interact with them and see an accurate video projection on the back of the vehicle. Some sensors are located on the front bumper, but they’re always at the rear to help with backing-up.
LiDAR stands for Light Imaging, Detection, and Ranging and is used to create a detailed representation of your physical surroundings. LiDAR uses lasers to calculate the distance between the vehicle and other objects. Its recent addition to vehicles has reduced accidents and improved the drivers’ ability to brake before additional damage occurs.
Depending on the vehicle’s LiDAR system, it will produce a 3D image of your surroundings instead of a linear mapping. ADAS cannot function without a LiDAR system because drivers won’t effectively see their blind spots.
The data module is like the central computer for ADAS because it combines the information received from the other components to generate data. Data modules are responsible for processing radar, images, and ultrasonic data. Then, this data is displayed on the user interface where the driver can fully interact with it and input directions in a semi-autonomous vehicle.
With the data module processing unit, ADAS effectively functions as a safer alternative to manually driven vehicles. With ECU and MCU (and eventually, V2X), the data module adds multiple design features to the car and creates connectivity with satellites and cellular towers.
V2X and Beyond
Once V2X gets off the ground, it will revolutionize the auto industry and will replace sensors to turn semi-automatic cars into fully automatic. V2X will improve communication between vehicles which will give more accurate information about weather conditions, road conditions, nearby accidents, and nearby objects.