Top 5 Tech Trends in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) promise to enhance vehicle safety by helping to simplify the driving process, reducing sources of driver distraction and inattention that often lead to accidents. With ADAS support, drivers and their passengers can hope to find safer roadways, countering deadly trends in motor vehicle accidents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle accidents rank among the top two causes of accidental injury or death. Even for non-alcohol-impaired drivers, the risk of a crash rises significantly when drivers are even briefly distracted. In fact, the risk of accidents jumps for drivers who glance away from the forward roadway for more than two seconds. Even beyond its obvious distractions, cellphone use increases accident rates for drivers who seem to be watching the road ahead but exhibit "inattention blindness" and loss of reaction time as they focus on the conversation.

Delivering ADAS designs capable of addressing these problems requires a broad combination of features and capabilities built on advances in diverse technologies. For developers, the future of ADAS lies in five key trends: embedded vision, sensors, connectivity, automotive systems infrastructure and automotive human machine interface (HMI) design.

Embedded vision

Automotive vision systems are increasingly essential for identifying and tracking potential hazards. Besides providing critical input for high-level warning functions such as lane drift or unobserved traffic, these systems provide the data needed to support a growing array of services including automatic parallel parking or traffic sign recognition for speed-change warning. Vision systems also provide the foundation for driver monitoring systems that warn when driver attention begins to wander from drowsiness or distraction. 

The emergence of specialized computer-vision software, hardware and development systems has all but erased traditional challenges in creating these systems. For example, the Avnet Blackfin® Embedded Vision Starter Kit combines development software and debug tools with an evaluation board that includes Analog Devices’ specialized BF609 Blackfin vision processor, a camera and peripherals.

Read more: Getting Started in Automotive Smart Vision Design

Sensors

Beyond vision-based traffic-warning systems, ADAS requires an extensive set of sensors for monitoring the vehicle’s immediate surroundings and even drivers themselves. Sensors for light detection and ranging (LIDAR), infrared detection and radar offer powerful solutions both for adaptive cruise control (ACC), which respond to traffic changes, and for systems capable of maintaining safe distance during high-traffic stop-and-go driving.

Semiconductor manufacturers continue to deliver increasingly sophisticated ICs that integrate sensor-signal chains required for signal conditioning and processing. For example, designers can implement the core features of a LIDAR system by combining a laser with the Maxim Integrated MAX3806 optical-distance measurement IC and Maxim’s MAX1446 high-performance analog-to-digital converter.

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