What is ADAS & How Will it Improve Fleet Safety?

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We know from concept cars and automotive shows that cars on the road aren’t what they could be. We have the designs and the technology to take things so much further, and so much faster. The automotive industry knows that advancing too quickly is hard on the market. The infrastructure isn’t in place for a market of solar and electric vehicles. Even Tesla struggles with ensuring there are enough charging stations across the nation. Auto mechanics adjust with about the same speed as infrastructure. Consumers adjust much more rapidly. But then where do automotive companies go from there. They take one big leap into the tech that’s available, but then consumers will only expect the next leap to be as large. So they make incremental changes to body style, power, and other features. But there is one area that the automotive industry is comfortable with making large leaps in. That is with ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems).

In all of automotive electronics, ADAS technologies are the fastest growing. This is due to demand for driver safety measures by both consumers and the government. Evidenced by market trends and the passing of MAP-21 and its subsequent ELD mandate. Like the many features in concept cars, ADAS technologies were a feature of the future. But with the convergence of telematics, ADAS changes life on the road. But what is ADAS, and how does it improve fleet safety? We’ll take a look at that and more, below.

What is ADAS?

ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. ADAS is the term used to describe the growing number of safety functions designed to improve driver, passenger and pedestrian safety. However, ADAS have been around for generations.

Most drivers recognize ABS, or Anti-lock Braking Systems. ABS is one of the earliest types of ADAS and the one we are most familiar with today. We are so well-versed in these early advancements that we hardly think of them as technology. As such, we rarely think that ABS can advance. In reality, ABS has continued to advance along with other similar systems. Today, ADAS has progressed as far as lane departure warning systems. These systems are designed to help drivers stay safely in their lane and notify the driver of their safety hazard. Looking to the future in ADAS, driverless cars that remove human error and reduce accidents is an ultimate goal.

Overall, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) improve safety on the road. These systems achieve this by reducing the number and severity of accidents. They not only warn you of dangers, but may also intervene to prevent an accident. There are many types of distractions on the road. Some forms of ADAS respond to these distractions, compensating for human error and inattentiveness.

Common ADAS Features

Advanced driving systems improve with every new vehicle model. For a while, many of these features were additional features on limited models. Now, even the more advanced ADAS features are common across all new vehicles.

You might recognize them as the following:

  • Adaptive cruise control- This system maintains a set distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you at a set speed. It can slow down, brake, or speed up on it’s own.
  • Automatic braking- A vehicle can now brake without you stepping on the peddle. It does so in the event that you do not react in time to avoid an oncoming collision.
  • Adaptive headlights- High beams can help you see on dark roads, but it can blind oncoming drivers. Adaptive headlights sense oncoming vehicles and switch to low beams. They’ll then switch back to high beams once there are no longer oncoming vehicles.
  • Parking assist- Many people aren’t great at parallel or reverse parking. It’s also a common way cars get scratched or dented. Parking assist does exactly what it says, it assists you as you park your car.
  • Blind spot detection- Cars have blind spots. Not seeing a vehicle in your blind spot when you’re trying to turn or merge can result in an accident. Blind spot detection lets you know when there is a vehicle or object where you may not see it.
  • Collision avoidance- This may include automatic braking or steering. Sensors in your vehicle detect the proximity of vehicles and objects around you.
  • Drowsiness detection- Drowsiness is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. This system can detect whether you are swaying or drifting into other lanes. Most vehicles with this system will simply alert you to pull over. More advanced systems will pull the car over for you.
  • Hill descent control- While going downhill, it’s very easy to build momentum and increase speed. Descent control keeps you at the appropriate speed. This is especially helpful for heavy fleet vehicles.
  • Lane keep assistance- If you are drifting into other lanes, lane keep gently steers you back into your lane. It senses the road lines and keeps you within them except when you’re turning or merging.
  • Tire pressure monitoring- Low tire pressure may reduce your fuel efficiency. But it also increases your accident risk. This monitoring helps to ensure your tires are always fully inflated.
  • Night vision- This isn’t very common in vehicles today, but we are likely to see it more in the near future. This feature helps us see with infrared and thermal radiation sensors.

ADAS Levels

Concept cars of today are often autonomous or semi autonomous, meaning they drive themselves. We’ll get there eventually, but before that all vehicles have to reach the highest ADAS level. Here are the levels they have to progress through:

  • Level 0- No automation at all
  • Level 1- Driver assistance systems such as cruise control and ABS. This is the level of most vehicles.
  • Level 2- Partial driving automation. This means the vehicle can control accelerating/ decelerating and steering.
  • Level 3- Conditional driving automation. These vehicles have environmental detection to make informed decisions themselves. This includes moving around and accelerating past slower vehicles.
  • Level 4- High driving automation. These vehicles can intervene if there is a system failure or if things go wrong. They require little human interaction and essentially drive themselves within a limited area.
  • Level 5-Full driving automation. These cars will require no human interaction. They’ll lack steering wheels and pedals.

How Does ADAS Improve Fleet Safety?

The National Security Council (NSC) estimates that there were around 40,000 traffic fatalities in 2018. Sadly, they estimated the same for the two years prior. This highlights the risks that fleet drivers take every time they are on the road. In fleet risk management, fleet companies attempt to lower these risks. They can do this in many ways, such as improving driver training with telematics. But there is something even simpler fleet managers can do to improve driver safety. They can upgrade to vehicles with the latest ADAS systems.

Driver asssitant systems reduce your fleet drivers’ chances of a collision. This is the goal of risk management and fleet safety planning. That’s why ensuring your fleet vehicles have ADAS software should be a priority. Here’s what ADAS software can do for your fleet:

Reduce Collisions

Distracted driving is responsible for around 10% of all driving fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fleet drivers are on the road for a maximum of 11 hours a day within a 14 hour day (according to HoS rules). This puts them at very high risk of a collision. ADAS helps to mitigate the risks with features such as auto braking and lane keep.

Save Money

Traffic incidents occur with approximately 20% of a fleet's vehicles each year. Small accidents average a cost of around $16,000 for a fleet. This number only accounts for accidents without injuries. With an injury or fatality, those costs can rise into the millions. If not an accident, there are still maintenance costs to contend with. Some ADAS systems can help you stay on top of preventative maintenance and improve efficiency.

Reduce Fuel Consumption

Tire pressure monitoring lets you know when your tires are not fully inflated. Tires that aren’t filled to standard cause a loss in fuel efficiency. Since fuel is around 34% of a fleet’s costs, this is an important feature. In addition, low tire pressure increases the risk of an accident. In the case of hard braking, the vehicle may have lower traction and risks blowing a tire. This is just one example of how your fleet can reduce fuel consumption and increase safety with ADAS systems.

Improve Driver Behavior

Speeding is a factor in about 30% of all traffic fatalities. As such, it is the most common unsafe driving behavior. Systems such as adaptive cruise control and hill descent help to mitigate this issue. Lane keep and other ADAS features can help adjust drivers and avoid collisions. The adjustments and alerts for unsafe behavior help to correct the driver’s habits. Integration with telematics can do even more to curtail dangerous habits. It does this by tracking long term behavior. This can then assist managers in developing training tailored to the driver.

Integrating your fleet with telematics helps to enhance ADAS features in your vehicles. It does so by recording and reporting diagnostics and vehicle information. Telematics software creates trend reports to help you manage fleet risk and safety. Learn more about telematics, fleet tracking, eLogs, and more, with Azuga.