Advanced driver assistance systems

Vehicle technologies and road casualty reduction

Vehicle safety is a key strategy to address ambitious long-term and interim goals and targets as part of an integrated Safe System approach (See ERSO web text on Road Safety Management and Vehicle Safety). Secondary safety or crash protection technologies continue to deliver large savings; in the last few years, primary safety or crash avoidance technologies have started to contribute to casualty reduction and hold potentially large future promise. At the same time, new in-vehicle technologies under development have the potential to increase as well as decrease crash injury risk through introducing new driver distraction and inadvertent behavioural change that may solve one problem but create another. The safety effects of some of the technologies that are being promoted widely in the name of safety have yet to be demonstrated. More promising safety technologies that address large road safety problems and where benefits have been demonstrated are being promoted in only a few countries or are being taken up at a lesser rate across EU countries. The European Commission’s Cars 21 strategy (see Cars 21) envisages an automotive industry that is leading in technology (clean, fuel-efficient, safe, and connected) and where vehicle safety can and should be further improved, for occupants and unprotected road users. The European New Car Assessment Programme (EuroNCAP) is developing a new role in assessing the safety quality of e-Safety systems through Advanced EuroNCAP and a new road map is underway to allow emerging crash avoidance technologies to be included (albeit not supplanting crash protection measures) into the assessment scheme by 2015. With the rapid deployment of new technologies on to the market, evaluation of systems referring to the analysis of final and intermediate outcome data as well as other relevant data is essential before wide-scale deployment.

Advanced driver assistance systems – a definition

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are defined here as vehicle-based intelligent safety systems which could improve road safety in terms of crash avoidance, crash severity mitigation and protection and post-crash phases. ADAS can, indeed, be defined as integrated in-vehicle or infrastructure based systems which contribute to more than one of these crash-phases. For example, intelligent speed adaptation and advanced braking systems have the potential to prevent the crash or mitigate the severity of a crash. This text discusses a variety of measures that are being promoted widely as ADAS, e-Safety or active safety measures, the knowledge about which is gradually evolving, including information on the costs and benefits of such measures.

Advanced driver assistance systems – safety effects known

The evaluation of ADAS is a young science and their road safety performance is of principal concern to road safety managers. Outcomes can be evaluated in terms of deaths and serious injuries (final outcomes) or any activity which is causally linked to these e.g., the level of seat belt use (intermediate outcomes). In this web text an intervention is deemed to have a ‘known positive safety effect’ if there are results from more than one study done in a similar road safety context and, where the results are statistically significant and indicate a useful level of effectiveness. Research in the EU and elsewhere has confirmed that the following interventions are likely to make a large contribution towards meeting ambitious safety targets and goals (ETSC 2006 eSafety): Intelligent Speed Adaptation (advisory ISA, Speed Alert); seat belt reminders in all seating positions in new cars, electronic stability control, alcohol interlocks for repeat offenders and fleet drivers, anti-lock braking for motorcycles and event and journey data recorders. All the above mentioned measures are at different phases of implementation. In some cases, the safety effects of measures are known but the available evidence does not indicate clear safety benefits.

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