Vehicle Technology

Educating Consumers on ADAS

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Overview Vehicle technology has advanced rapidly through the years. With new functions and features in cars, educating consumers — and engineers — on industry terms can help them better understand their vehicles and lead to safer, smarter driving.

Active Steering Assist. Intelligent Lane Intervention. LaneSense Lane Departure Warning Plus. A sampling of three of the many unique product names used to describe just one important advanced driving task: Lane Keeping Assistance.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) — the technological systems that improve a vehicle’s safety by electronically assisting drivers with driving and parking functions — are becoming increasingly prevalent in vehicles. From Adaptive Cruise Control and Traction Control to Forward Collision Warning and Traffic Signals Recognition, ADAS features have evolved since the early-2000s as automakers roll out vehicles equipped with varying ranges of advanced technologies. The prevalence of ADAS features in vehicles is only expected to grow as innovations in technology are uncovered.

Ignorance is Not Bliss

While these features are intended to create safer roadways, the varied brand names and terminology marketed by automakers, along with the lack of an industry consensus, often leave customers confused or unaware of the functionality — and in some cases, limitations — of their vehicle’s technology set. Efforts such as the joint AAA, Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, NSC, SAE International, and PAVE Clearing the Confusion document are currently underway by industry stakeholders to create common ADAS terminology and clarifications to help eliminate this confusion and create a higher level of awareness among drivers.

Chad Zagorski, the chair of the SAE International Active Safety Systems Standards Committee, recently said, “With advanced safety technologies being added to new vehicles every year, we recognize that it’s important that consumers understand the technologies they are using and common descriptions can help. Educating drivers on key terms such as ‘Lane Keeping Assistance’ and ‘Automatic Emergency Braking’ helps drivers have consistent expectations and awareness of the functionality of their vehicle’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.”

Setting the Standard

In conjunction with the consumer-facing efforts for ADAS taxonomy, work is underway by SAE’s Active Safety Terms and Definitions Task Force to create an industry-wide standard for use by engineers. The SAE J3063™ Standard: Active Safety Systems Terms and Definitions, provides clarity for what a particular ADAS feature is designed to do, along with insight into additional variants that may be available with a particular feature.

The taxonomy efforts underway at both the consumer and engineer level are not intended to replace the proprietary brand names marketed by automakers. Rather, by establishing consistency and awareness of key ADAS functions within the packages offered by automakers, consumers have an additional level of clarity in the performance and safety aspects of their vehicles.

Access to clear and consistent terminology starts with the automakers and industry advocacy groups. Putting information in the hands of consumers allows them to compare active safety content across competing manufacturer’s offerings. This level of awareness will help increase understanding and clarity about what these features are designed to do, ultimately creating a smarter, safer driver.

Members of the SAE Taxonomy Task Force will be participating in critical discussion during the Connect2Car@CES Digital Summit on January 14, part of the CES Partner Programming. Register for the all-digital CES 2021.

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