ADAS technology: how ready are we to bend to partial automation ?


The Institute of Highway Safety – an American non-profit organisation funded by car insurance companies - has recently conducted a study on ADAS and the results are astonishing to say the least.

Over the course of 4 weeks, they dispatched 39 drivers in 2 types of vehicles, equipped with adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are designed to enhance the safety of the car’s occupants and by extension of road users in close proximity to the car. Nearly every new car model comes with ADAS equipment but the study revealed that adaptive cruise control (ACC) and other partial automation perform drastically less on highways with sharper curves. Ironically curves and bends are the places where they would prove their worth much more than on straight stretches of road.

The reason for this reduced functioning is partly to be found in the ADAS features disengaging automatically but surprisingly in many cases the driver consciously switches to manual control of the car to navigate windier road segments.

The study’s findings show that relinquishing control in a motorised vehicle still goes against our nature and this inevitably raises the question just how ready we are to put our trust in sophisticated automation.