Laying solid Assisted Driving foundations 

Before we can embrace the automated mobility model of the future, it’s vital that we get Assisted Driving right and use today’s technology safely.  

This can only happen if consumers understand what today’s Assisted Driving systems can and can’t do – as well as remembering their own responsibilities behind the wheel. 

Explained: Today’s Assisted Driving technology 

The Assisted Driving systems that are currently available on today’s new cars can offer many safety benefits if used correctly. 

They combine acceleration and steering support systems that help to guide the vehicle along the road and maintain a set speed and safe distance from the car ahead to reduce driver fatigue on long journeys and in stop-start traffic. 

Carmakers tend to use different names and terminology to describe their Assisted Driving systems which can create confusion. 

The primary Assisted Driving systems currently on the market are: 

Vehicle Assistance

Adaptive Cruise Control 

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is a comfort system that allows a vehicle to maintain a set speed and safe distance to the car ahead, by speeding up and slowing down accordingly. Some systems detect fixed and variable speed limits and adopt them, while the most advanced adapt speed for upcoming curves, junctions and roundabouts. 

Auto Resume 

This ACC feature offers an automatic stop-and-go functionality in heavy traffic. It should only resume driving when the road ahead is clear and the driver is attentive and able to oversee their driving responsibilities. 

Steering Assist 

An assistance system that helps the driver to stay in lane when navigating curves in the road. Some systems will merely adjust the steering direction, while others will also adjust the vehicle speed if necessary to navigate the bend. 

Lane Change Assist 

Using rear and side sensors, this system supports the driver when making a driver-initiated lane change. The sensors determine whether the target lane is free before allowing the car to complete a safe manoeuvre. 

Driver Engagement

Driver Monitoring

Safe Assisted Driving requires the driver to be engaged behind the wheel at all timesMost cars monitor this by detecting hands-on-wheel and driver steering inputs. The most advanced systems use direct Driver Monitoring sensors or cameras that monitor the driver to ensure the required engagement is maintained. 

Driving Collaboration

This offers steering support that works in unison with the driver’s intentions, rather than fighting against themIt provides the driver with a feeling of co-operation, not a hand-over of control. 

Safety Back-up

Autonomous Emergency Braking

AEB is a safety system that monitors the road ahead and will automatically apply the car’s brakes if the driver fails to respond to a collision threat. It’s like an extra pair of eyes on the road and an extra foot over the brake pedal, ready to act if the driver is distracted.  

Emergency Lane Keeping

Using forward-facing camera technology, the car monitors the position of the vehicle in its lane. If it strays over the white line without a lane-change signal being activated and there’s immediate danger, the system will intervene to help control the direction of the vehicle. 

Unresponsive Driver Intervention

In the event of a disengaged driver being detected at the wheel, some cars disengage the Assisted Driving features, whereas the most advanced vehicles safely guide the vehicle to a crawl or stop, display the hazard warning lights and make an emergency call. 

System Failure

In case of a system failure, the car should provide a timely warning to the driver and deactivate the Assisted Driving systems if they can no longer function effectively.  

There are a number of misconceptions with regards to some of the capabilities and limitations of Assisted Driving technologies. We’ve put together some myth-busters to help create clarity around the facts.

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