Aging ADAS Must Be Tested for Efficacy

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Over the past several weeks, FenderBe has focused on evolving ADAS technology, its push toward standardization and some of the short-term hurdles it faces toward overall acceptance. 

While there are hiccups in the development of that technology, as there will be in any sort of new field, most experts we've spoken to have said the technology is, in general, a net positive both now and in long-term projections.

“Time will tell where the greatest benefit from connected car services will come to each market segment,” CCC Intelligent Solutions' 2021 Crash Course report says, “but it’s clear that enough value exists overall that this is a trend not slowing down."

The ultimate purpose of ADAS is to keep people safe; features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and even something as simple as rear-view cameras are all added to a vehicle with the intention of giving a driver more control over their vehicle and an enhanced awareness of their surroundings. 

As the technology continues to push to higher levels of autonomy and becomes more advanced, it's sometimes easy to forget that, at the end of the day, the vehicle is still just that: a vehicle. It drives through tough conditions and can get worn down without proper maintenance. The same, too, can be said for the ADAS technology inside of that vehicle.

Even without an accident, ADAS systems can wear down and lose effectiveness over time. TÜV Rhineland, a German-based technical systems tester, recently reported that it found there is a surprising lack of data for how ADAS systems function in the long-term, and how wear might adversely affect those systems.

"We have gained initial insights into the circumstances under which lane-keeping systems might function to a limited extent only – and into the consequences this may have for road safety,” TÜV Rhineland Executive VP Dr. Matthias Schubert says. 

In the report, Schubert says that his firm strongly believes ADAS systems should be mandatory in new European vehicles because ADAS saves lives. He adds a caveat, though: Drivers have to regularly maintain those systems, and while they are driving cannot count on those systems working 100 percent correctly every single time. 

TÜV Rhineland's report found that, on average, the estimated number of annual risk events—happenings in which a system does not function as intended—could get as high as 2.3 million in Europe alone.

“The spontaneous deactivation of a system becomes problematic if the driver is not fully concentrated at that moment or does not have his or her hands firmly on the steering wheel at all because he or she has relied completely on the system,” TÜV Rhineland executive Rico Barth says. “To put it differently, there are situations that drivers experience as a malfunction, even though the assistance system is working properly.”

As ADAS becomes more integrated into the automotive industry, it will save more lives. In order to ensure it doesn't actively cause more accidents, though, TÜV Rhineland suggests more long-term studies on degradation need to be done. The average age of a vehicle in the U.S. recently rose above 12 years, and knowing that system will work as well in Year 12 as it did in Year 1 is paramount. 

"Further findings should now urgently be obtained on how to ensure the reliable functioning of advanced driver assistance systems throughout their entire lifetime," the report says.

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