City Collision Mitigation.
Front Pedestrian Braking.
OEM 4 Active Safe.
Full Speed Forward Collison Warning Plus.
What does every item on this list have in common? All of them are names for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), but there’s more than that.
Each of these names describe the same type of ADAS: collision mitigation. In fact, there are forty unique names used to label this single ADAS feature. Additionally, there are more than ten other features that have anywhere between twenty and five unique names.
You might be wondering: Wow, that’s very confusing, but is there a problem with having so many names? The answer is a definitive yes. ADAS are developed to aid in driver and pedestrian safety. The use of so many names poses a threat to that primary purpose by creating confusion. To combat this, five organizations have joined forces with Partners For Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) and proposed a common naming solution that would secure the safety of ADAS and provide clarity to drivers.
What’s in a name?
ADAS features have become a standard in new vehicles. Thanks to this technology, vehicles are the safest they’ve ever been. The enhanced safety and convenience of features such as blind spot warning, lane keeping assistance, and parking assist has become a major selling point for automobile manufacturers. For this reason, the naming of them has been focused on marketing the vehicles, rather than providing a clear understanding of the system for the consumer.
Names like Distronic Plus by Mercedes, Mazda’s i-Activesense, and Honda Sensing Suite are crafted with engaging buzz-words that ultimately don’t describe the system’s function. By vaguely naming this technology, drivers are left with little to no understanding of its’ purpose.
Some automobile manufacturers are using misleading names, that leave consumers with unrealistic expectations for the vehicle’s performance. In a survey conducted by AAA, 40 percent of participants stated that they expect systems with names like AutoPilot and ProPilot to have the ability to drive the car by itself. Names that insinuate full automation like this give false perspective to drivers, leading them to believe that the vehicle is able to take over or function without their engagement.
How will standardized ADAS naming improve consumer safety?
Research shows that the installation of these systems saves lives. This implementation of this technology prevents 40 percent of all vehicle crashes and almost 30 percent of traffic deaths. Even with the present gap in knowledge, it’s preferable to have an ADAS-equipped vehicle, but that’s not to say that there isn’t risk involved with improper use.
If drivers are not educated on the capabilities of their vehicle, they may wrongly expect them to perform tasks that they cannot accomplish. In a recent study, it was discovered that 72 percent of participants whose vehicles have lane keeping assist believed that it worked at all speeds, while in reality, most systems require speeds of at least 30-40 mph. This study illustrates a lack of understanding that occurs with many ADAS. Unclear naming makes it harder for consumers to conduct research and truly understand the conditions in which they can use these features.
Automakers have a responsibility to accurately market and name these features in ways which promote consumer understanding. Between the owner’s manual, web resources, dealerships, and other customer-facing materials, it’s common to see the same system identified differently. Even a consumer who has taken the time to do their research can be misled by the inconsistency of these resources. Consumers do need to educate themselves on systems within the vehicle they are operating, but the current system is working against them.
The idea behind common naming of ADAS isn’t to disallow manufacturers from marketing them to consumers. Ultimately, they will still be able to name package names and proprietary systems as they wish. What’s being proposed is common naming of key functions within those packages, that clearly and simply identify what they do.
Will this lead to a more competitive automobile market?
With the common naming of ADAS features, comes the potential for a change that would ultimately benefit consumers: ranking. The current inconsistency makes analysis and comparison of these systems nearly impossible. But, if PACE’s recommendations were implemented ADAS would be placed in five categories, with a total of twenty system names.
Standardized terminology makes it easier for consumers to compare systems from vehicle to vehicle. They would be able to make a decision on what vehicle provides the greatest amount of safety to them and analyze the differences in capabilities between similar ADAS features.
It’s also likely that industry experts would establish a ranking system and make recommendations, because doing so leads to safer vehicles on the road. Many organizations already provide vehicle rankings for this purpose. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issues updated vehicle ratings on a regular basis, the US government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides this resource as well as Consumer Reports.
The ability to rank and compare these features provides another benefit: improvements in technology driven by a more competitive market. If consumers are given the ability to compare and consider ADAS when car shopping, manufacturers gain an even more vested interest in offering the best of the best. Competition for the best ranked features will lead to new developments and increased safety benefits for all.
What will it take to clear the confusion?
PACE’s recommendation for the common naming of advanced safety systems has received support from an array of organizations. AAA, SAE International, the National Safety Council, Consumer Reports, J. D. Power, I-CAR and other organizations have already adopted the recommended practices and are campaigning for widespread use.
Substantial backing from safety organizations and journalists has helped propel the issue forward. However, the key to clearing the confusion lies in manufacturers and regulation. In order to accomplish a standard system, it’s critical that automakers are on board. Regulatory organizations have the authority to implement common names, but this change is best achieved by a unified approach. Keith Wilson, a technical program manager at SAE explained this effort, “As safety technologies advance and as new systems are developed, we plan to work with stakeholders to refine the naming outline to keep the public and industry informed.”
Input from automakers and regulatory bodies combined will lead to a better system that helps to clear the confusion for everyone.
What’s the end result?
Commonality in ADAS feature names is about providing clarity to consumers. This clarity will reduce misinformation and help drivers better understand the vehicle they are operating. The goal is simple: education and safety.
The work we do at Car ADAS is all about making the world a safer place to drive. We believe that standardizing names for ADAS features is a natural step in the right direction. Contact Car ADAS to learn about opening your own ADAS calibration center.
Read more in our ADAS blog.