The global automotive industry is facing three irresistible trends: electrification, automation, and connectivity. All these trends move towards the ultimate goal – full autonomous driving. Believe it or not, we have long begun and are now in the midst of a revolutionary transition from manual driving to autonomous driving.
Car enthusiasts either like it or hate it. Some tech lovers can’t wait to ride in a computer on wheels, while others constantly complain about the fake exhaust pipes, fake diffusers, and fake engine sounds.
For the majority of people who see cars as nothing more than a means of transportation, automation is generally preferred. These consumers are the driving force for this change.
Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS)
Indeed, full autonomous driving does not happen overnight, and the transformation is likely going to take another decade or more. During this transition period, automated functionalities are slowly being trialed and adopted by automotive manufacturers. These functions, generally referred to as advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS, make our driving experience safe and comfortable.
Some of the earliest ADAS functions include blindspot detectors and reversing cameras, which have now become the standard for nearly all new vehicles.
In this article, we will introduce some of the newest ADAS functions that are beginning to prevail in the market. Before doing so, we will give a brief explanation of how ADAS functions work.
5 components of ADAS: camera, sensor, software, processor, actuator
ADAS functions are very intuitive to use, but what’s behind the scene is extremely sophisticated. Let’s go through the five components of ADAS to see how it works.
Camera.It all starts with cameras. Most new cars have at least two cameras, one at the front and another at the back. Premium cars now have six to eight surrounding cameras capable of depicting a 360-degree view of the surrounding environment. These cameras are crucial in providing spatial information to the car.
Sensor. Cameras are not complete without sensors. Sensors are used for a wide range of purposes, including identifying both stationary and moving objects, movement speed, light, and temperature. These sensors complement the cameras by providing sensory information to the car.
Software.If the engine is the heart of the car, software is the blood. Hardware cannot operate without support from the software. Software technologies such as cloud, mobility, deep learning, and artificial intelligence are the foundation of ADAS. This is why AUTOCRYPT is important. By providing security software to vehicles, it prevents automated systems such as the ADAS from being hacked and manipulated, making it a crucial prerequisite for autonomous vehicles.
Processor. Cameras and sensors provide visual and sensory information, after which the processors use that information for calculation and tell the car how to respond to real-time environmental situations with the appropriate behaviors and adequate safety measures.
Actuator.After the processors have finished the calculations and decided on what actions to perform, the actuator communicates this information to the mechanical components so that they can execute the tasks, from power steering to acceleration and braking.
5 impressive ADAS functions of today’s cars
1. Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Avoidance
Adaptive cruise control, sometimes called autonomous cruise control, refers to cruise control systems that use cameras, radars, and sensors to assist the driver in keeping a safe distance with the car in front, and to automatically engage the brake when necessary to avoid forward collisions.
Vehicles with adaptive cruise control are categorized as level 1 on the vehicle autonomy scale defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)1.
As of 2020, almost all premium cars, as well as the higher trims of midsize sedans and SUVs, come with adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance capabilities.
1 The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a scale that defines 6 levels of vehicle autonomy, ranging from level 0 (fully manual) to level 5 (fully automated). It has been officially adopted by the US Department of Transportation. To learn more about the scale, click here.
2. Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Automatic Lane Centering
A car with any of these features has at least one front-facing camera, often located at the upper center of the windshield, right behind the rear-view mirror. The camera is equipped with sophisticated software designed to read, identify, and track the lanes on the road.
These three features sound very similar and are often misused interchangeably, but their meanings are quite different.
A lane departure warning system sounds the alarm to warn the driver when the car is about to depart from the lane, but the driver needs to manually turn the steering wheel to get the vehicle back in lane.
A lane keep assist system does more than just sounding the alarm. It automatically engages the steering wheel when the vehicle is about to depart the lane to keep the vehicle within the lane.
A lane centering system is the most advanced of these three. It constantly powers the steering wheel and adjusts it automatically to keep the vehicle exactly at the center of the lane.
All three systems would automatically disengage when the driver turns on the indicators, so that no warning would be raised when the driver intentionally changes lanes.
Some car sellers play with words to make a lane keep assist system sound like a lane centering system. This is why consumers should be well-informed about their differences and always double-check to make sure they are actually getting the feature they want.
Self-parking requires the same hardware as other ADAS systems: cameras, radars, and sensors. A self-parking system uses multiple cameras around the vehicle to depict a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surrounding environment, then calculates the most efficient route and maneuvers to get into the space. Due to calculation time, self-parking tends to be slower than manual parking in most vertical parking situations. However, the feature is extremely useful for horizontal parallel parking, where even the most experienced drivers have a hard time fitting their cars into tight spaces.
Most self-parking features in the market are not fully autonomous. For example, Volvo XC60 only takes charge of the steering wheel during self-parking and instructs the driver on when to shift gears and when to release and press the brake pedal (no need to press accelerator as idle speed is enough for parking).
4. Driver Drowsiness Detection
About 20% of all traffic accidents are caused by sleep-deprived driving. In the United States alone, between 100,000 and 328,000 crashes are caused by drowsiness, leading to an estimated 5,000 deaths (National Safety Council).
Driver drowsiness detection, commonly equipped on mid-range to premium vehicles today, utilizes a built-in AI camera embedded on the dashboard to observe the driver’s facial expressions and eye movements. Whenever it detects drowsiness that is significant enough to impair driving, it would inform the driver by showing warning symbols or sounding voice notifications.
In the extreme case of the driver actually nodding off, some premium cars would try to wake the driver up by hitting the brakes suddenly (when it’s safe) to shake the vehicle. If the driver completely falls asleep, they would automatically take control of the vehicle and slowly pull over to the road shoulder.
5. Glare-Free High Beams
Drivers refrain from using high beams at night because they could temporarily impair the vision of other drivers, potentially causing accidents. Some countries even ban the use of high beams in cities and highways. However, with cameras and sensors, this is no longer an issue. Initially developed by Ford in 2016, glare-free high beams are now equipped in vehicles of other automakers as well, including the 2020 Renault Talisman (also known as Renault Samsung SM6).
How does it work? The front camera of the car is equipped with a light detection sensor that can pick up headlights and taillights of other vehicles up to 800 meters away. If another car is detected in front, it would track the front car’s position and block a small portion of the headlights that is directed at it. This way, all the angles to the left and right of the front car would still be lit up, yet the front car itself would not be hit with any of your high beams.
To learn more about ADAS and the underlying software security components in them, click here to contact AUTOCRYPT.