Autonomous driving technologies explained

The IAG Research centre brings drivers (safely) up to speed on improvements in vehicle safety technology

drone car photo

Every new car rolling into the showroom is becoming smarter and safer through the ongoing development of technologies that help drivers react faster to risks on the road.  And while it will be some time before we see fully autonomous vehicles, many drivers can already experience a range of technologies designed to make driving a car safer, known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

The IAG Research centre, which has more than 20 years’ experience conducting and sharing research on car safety, security and repair issues, has been examining and testing ADAS technologies since they first arrived in the Australian market.

IAG Research Centre Director, Oliver Klaus said: “Being able to test and learn about ADAS allows us to be at the forefront of car safety technology and to better understand how these systems work, the risks they present and how they make our customers’ travel experiences safer.”

Here, Mr Klaus helps demystify the world of ADAS and explains some of the technologies helping make the road safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

So, what is ADAS?

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is an umbrella term for several safety systems used in vehicles. Technologies such as radar, cameras, or lasers (or a combination of these) are used to identify other vehicles and dangers in your vicinity. Some ADAS systems can also identify pedestrians and surroundings.

These systems are designed to monitor the surrounding environment and the vehicle being driven at all times, helping the driver stay safe by alerting them to potential hazards before they become unavoidable and, in some cases, taking action if the driver does not respond in time.

Examples of ADAS include:

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)

AEB monitors the road ahead and warns the driver of potential dangers. It can apply braking force to help reduce the severity of a collision and, depending on the conditions, may even be able to stop the vehicle completely.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

ACC keeps the vehicle’s speed constant and ensures the car stays a safe distance from the vehicle in front. This system can accelerate and apply the brakes as required.

Lane Departure Warning (LDW)

A camera scans the road for lane markings and warns the driver if they are leaving the lane. LDW works best on straight roads.

Lane Keep Assist (LKA)

A camera scans the road for lane markings and attempts to keep the vehicle within the lane. LKA works best on straight roads and can be overridden by the driver at any time.

Intersection Collision Warning

Radar or camera technology scans an upcoming intersection for vehicles approaching from the side and warns the driver if possible.

Blind Spot Monitoring

Radar monitors the driver’s ‘blind spots’ and warns them if a vehicle is there.


Why are ADAS technologies important?

ADAS technologies are known as primary safety systems, that means they can help avoid or prevent a collision, minimise a collision’s impact and, most importantly, help keep everyone safer on the road.

“ADAS technologies are now fitted as standard to many vehicles, including many base models, and we encourage customers to consider these when purchasing a vehicle,” Mr Klaus said.

About the IAG Research Centre

The IAG Research Centre allows us to conduct and share research on a range of vehicles with a focus on safety, security and repair costs.

The centre’s main purpose is to research how emerging mobility technologies will affect operational and insurance risk in the future. It delivers risk insights and services to IAG, its brands and to the wider insurance industry. The centre’s researchers provide expertise and insights that support IAG’s educational efforts to improve safety on Australian roads and provide technical support and information for the smash repair industry.

The centre also collaborates with industry bodies and universities to prepare and deal with the impacts of emerging technology that is changing our mobility needs and risks into the future.

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