22 May 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

The evolution of ADAS

Martin looks at how ADAS has changed as it has developed, and where it is going

 By Martin Pinnell-Brown, Director, Repairify Innovations

Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) have been an important part of automotive technology since the 1970s, when the anti-lock braking system (ABS) was introduced.

Today, we take ABS for granted as it is standard on most vehicles worldwide. ADAS technology has evolved over time and regulations have also changed. Recently, an EU directive made ADAS systems mandatory on all cars from mid-2022. This means that garages will see more faults on these systems and an increased potential for calibrations and repairs, leading to more sales opportunities for their business. Repairers of all sizes are investing in tools and training to ensure they can do the work and future-proof their business. We are now nearly two years down the line and seeing this trend continue.

ADAS technology is driving us towards fully autonomous vehicles, but we’re not there yet. Currently, we’re at the semi-autonomous stage, which means we can drive hands-free. Ford’s BlueCruise system, available in the Mustang Mach-E electric car, achieves this through a combination of traditional sensors and cameras that keep the car in its lane and at the right speed as well as a driver monitoring system that ensures the driver is paying attention. If the driver looks away, an alert sounds to bring their focus back to the road. These systems are seamlessly integrated into the car’s panels, windscreen and dashboard, making them compact and unobtrusive.

In 2024, technology will continue to evolve with the adoption of LIDAR systems in production vehicles such as the new Lotus Eletre. Before this development, LIDAR was considered bulky and cumbersome, as seen on autonomous vehicles with large equipment on their roofs. However, with LIDAR integrated into the roof and side panels of the Lotus, it is now so compact that the vehicle is covered from all angles. This ensures the safety of not just the driver, but also other road users.

Moreover, the use of LIDAR enables higher accuracy and hazard recognition. It can also register the colour and size of the obstacles. This feature allows engineers to extract data from the vehicle and program it to perform specific actions when it encounters certain objects. This becomes increasingly important as we move towards more autonomous settings in vehicles.

As car manufacturers progress towards autonomous driving, the technology used in ADAS will continue to develop. This means that technicians working on these vehicles need to have a thorough understanding of the technology involved as well as the necessary skills and qualifications from organisations such as the IMI to ensure that calibrations are done correctly the first time.