ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and has become the new buzzword in the Indian car market since Mahindra & Mahindra introduced the feature in its mass-market SUV, XUV 700. As the name suggests, ADAS helps the driver manage different conditions during a drive and can significantly prevent collisions, injuries, and deaths.
Most road accidents happen due to human error, and ADAS attempts to minimise such errors by assisting the driver in multiple ways. For example, a car equipped with ADAS can detect pedestrians on the road and use emergency braking to avoid an accident.
On long drives, drivers may experience fatigue, resulting in a lack of focus, leading to non-adherence to lane-driving. ADAS can detect lane departures and can either warn the driver about the lane departure or, in higher-level ADAS cars, take control of the steering and put the vehicle back in the lane.
ADAS uses input devices like sensors and cameras to collect information about the surroundings, and then it either relays this information to the driver to induce action or, in higher-level ADAS vehicles, ADAS takes automatic actions.
What are the levels of ADAS?
Levels of ADAS refer to the degree of automation a vehicle comes with or the kind of driving assistance a vehicle is capable of. Generally, there are six levels of ADAS.
Level 0: No automation
Level 0 refers to no driving assistance from the vehicle. The driver performs all the driving tasks, including steering, accelerating, and braking the vehicle.
Level 1: Driver assistance
Level 1 vehicles feature automated speed management or cruise control. These vehicles can manage the vehicle's speed as predefined by the driver. This feature comes in handy on a long drive on a highway. To use it, the driver may set the cruising speed at 80 kmph.
These cars can monitor their surroundings, detect vehicles ahead of them and apply brakes in case the other vehicle slows down.
Detecting a clear lane ahead, Level 1 ADAS vehicles can speed up again to reach the speed of 80 kmph or as decided by the driver.
Level 2: Partial automation
Vehicles with Level 2 ADAS capabilities can steer the vehicle and control acceleration, but only partly. The driver still monitors all tasks and can take manual control of things at any time. Level 2 ADAS vehicles have lane-keep assist features and can provide steering inputs to maintain lane driving.
Level 3: Conditional automation
Level 3 ADAS vehicles can monitor their surroundings and can perform most of the driver's tasks. However, these vehicles still require a human override.
Level 4: High automation
These vehicles are capable of performing all driving tasks under specific circumstances. However, these vehicles require geofencing. In such vehicles, human override is optional.
Level 5: Full automation
The vehicle performs all driving tasks and can do so under all conditions. No human monitoring or interaction is required. Fully automated cars are also referred to as self-driving cars.
Things ADAS can help with
As explained above, Level 2 ADAS vehicles can support long highway drives by automatically accelerating and slowing down the vehicle by way of detecting the objects around the vehicle. However, ADAS functions go beyond adaptive cruise control and can ease the driver's job in several other ways.
During night drives, ADAS can detect approaching vehicles and lower the high beam, preventing other road users from going temporarily blind. Cars equipped with ADAS can also auto park, detecting unseen areas around the car and deciding when to steer the car. Using multiple sensors, some vehicles can park the vehicle without any driver input.
ADAS vehicles can detect driver drowsiness and can warn drivers of sleepiness. ADAS vehicles use multiple sensors to determine the state of the driver, including the movement of the driver's head and heartbeat.
Cars with ADAS in the Indian market
While Mahindra & Mahindra was the first in the ADAS game, launching its Mahindra XUV700 in India. Other car manufacturers are catching up with Honda City's fifth generation, becoming the most affordable car in the country to come with a camera-based ADAS suite.
Hyundai Verna also gets ADAS function with its SX (O) variant. MG is also offering ADAS capabilities in its Hector and Astor. Tata's Safari and Harrier also have ADAS functions in their XZA+ O trims.