As artificial intelligence continues to advance and integrate itself into theautomotive industry, we find ourselves experiencing a much different driving experience than ever before. We can now communicate with our vehicles, even before we enter the car, to heat or cool the interior, to play our favorite music and podcasts, and we can now rely on AI to take care of some of the more complicated aspects to driving, such as the act of driving itself. Car drivers are entering the age of driver assistance systems, which are AI-integrated programs created to take over some of the more laborious aspects of driving. It is safe to say that we are entering a period in time where both humans and AI team together in order to create a brand new driving experience–one that is easier and safer for everyone.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS, are various technologies created to improve the driving experience, namely to promote vehicle safety. This process involves the implementation of automated assistance to the driver in order to help reduce the possibility of human error. This is done by using sensors, cameras, radar, and other advanced tech features to monitor the
vehicle’s surroundings at all times and to assist in various driving tasks–such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure assistance, automatic emergency braking, and parking assistance.

For some car companies, like GMC, these advanced systems are nothing new, though they are being updated often. The availability of specific assistance features can depend on the trim level and options chosen for each vehicle, but a variety of them can be found in most versions of GMC’s Sierra, Yukon, Terrain, Acadia, and Canyon.

Before we get into some details on how these systems work, let’s have a look into how incorporating ADAS can benefit both drivers and passengers:

• Improved Safety: we can already see how ADAS helps prevent car accidents by providing safety assistance to drivers through the use of emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
• Enhanced Convenience: ADAS can make the driving experience more comfortable and less stressful by assisting with tasks such as maintaining a safe distance behind other vehicles, keeping your vehicle centered in its lane, and aiding in parking maneuvers, such as the dreaded parallel parking.
• Reduced Driver Fatigue: by incorporating ADAS, drivers can get alerts and assistance when necessary if experiencing fatigue. These technologies can keep drivers from falling asleep and/or get them to pay attention to certain aspects of driving–for instance, if there is flooding, icy conditions, animals crossing, etc.
• Potential Insurance Discounts: some insurance companies offer discounts for vehicles equipped with ADAS, as these technologies have already proven their ability to reduce the likelihood of accidents and even minimize potential damage in the case of an actual collision.
• Environmental Benefits: certain features to ADAS, such as adaptive cruise control, can help with fuel efficiency by maintaining a consistent speed and following distance. Over time, this can lead to a drastic reduction in fuel consumption. Lower emissions means your car is better for the environment, and you are able to save money by vising the gas station less often.
• Assistance for Drivers with Disabilities: ADAS can provide helpful assistance to drivers with disabilities by helping them operate aspects of the vehicle through automated prompting, the use of warning lights, etc. It can also assist those with limited mobility by setting itself to take care of things like the usage of blinkers and headlights without the prompting of the driver.

Clearly, ADAS plays a crucial role in improving road safety and enhancing the driving experience, and this process of technological integration is only starting– who knows what the future holds!

How ADAS Works

Integrated systems such as ADAS are quite complicated, but gaining a basic understanding of how they work can better inform drivers on how and when to use them. On the most basic level, ADAS uses a combination of sensors, cameras, radar, lidar, and software algorithms to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings. All of these technologies are used to assist the driver. Here is a general overview of how it all works:

Sensors and Cameras–

Small sensors and cameras are strategically placed around the vehicle so that they can continuously collect data on the car’s surroundings, including nearby vehicles, pedestrians, road markings, traffic signs, and obstacles.

Data Processing–

The data collected by sensors and cameras are processed in real-time through the use of onboard computers. These computers use special algorithms to analyze the data received in order to identify objects on or around the road, detect potential hazardous situations, and to assess the vehicle’s position in relation to the road and other vehicles.

Decision Making–

Once incoming data has been processed, ADAS make decisions about the appropriate actions to take so that the driver is assisted and safety mechanisms are enhanced. For example, if it is detected that the vehicle is drifting in and out of its lane without signaling, lane departure warnings and/or the steering assistant may be employed in order to alert the driver and to keep the vehicle in its proper placement on the road.

Driver Feedback and Intervention–

One of the great aspects to this sort of enhanced driving system is that ADAS provide feedback to the driver through visual, auditory, and haptic alerts in order to inform them of potential hazards in the moment. Not only that, but in some cases ADAS can also intervene directly by applying the brakes, adjusting steering, even by controlling the vehicle’s speed.

Integration with Vehicle Controls–

Most often, Advanced Driver Assistance is integrated with the vehicle’s existing control systems–like braking, steering, and throttle–so that there is active vehicle control when necessary without the prompting of the driver. Essentially, this means that ADAS does not have to wait for human interaction for it to kick in. Which makes sense if you are heading towards danger without knowing it, you want your vehicle to know to apply the brakes whether your foot hits the brake pad or not.

Continuous Monitoring and Improvement–

What’s so great about ADAS is that it is continuously working. It is always
monitoring the vehicle’s surroundings and performance–even if you are not–and
it knows to adapt and change driving conditions, and this effectiveness is actually
improved over time. Manufacturers regularly update ADAS software to enhance
performance, address potential issues, and introduce new safety features.

One other feature we love about the incorporation of ADAS is that if repairs or calibration are needed for the ADAS system in GMC vehicles, a quick trip to the dealership is all that is required. Once on site, a certified technician can calibrate and/or repair any necessary areas. And there is no guesswork here, as your ADAS will let you know if there is some necessary repairs or adjustments needed so that there is no compromise in the effectiveness of the system.

The future is upon us, and driving is about to look a whole lot different. Are you ready to incorporate ADAS into your daily driver? It’s time.