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ADAS will someday transform your automobile into a plane

adas will someday transform
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The Advanced Driver Assistance System is already a standard feature in Europe and China. It is only a matter of time until it becomes compulsory in India. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are growing popular, particularly in vehicles with a large percentage of foreign components. But what exactly is ADAS, how does it function, and why should you care as a driver?

Honda City e:HEV hybrid, new It’s an intriguing vehicle. And, with more powerful hybrid vehicles on the way, particularly the Maruti/Toyota competitor to the Creta, living with the City Hybrid gives you a sense of how much more fuel-efficient the vehicle truly is when compared to a standard petrol Honda City. With a standard mass-market vehicle, however, equipped with ADAS functionality, such as collision warning and mitigation systems, as well as lane and road departure warning systems, it’s possible to get a better understanding of the technology.

If I had to sum up my ten-day experience driving a car with ADAS in one word, it would be frustrating. To be fair, Honda includes a button that disables the ADAS capability. And, given the state of Indian roads and traffic, it might not be such a horrible idea. However, I would keep the systems operational on urban high-speed roads like Mumbai’s Eastern Expressway or the Delhi-Gurugram Highway.

Allow me to explain why.

ADAS assists with distractions.

I was trained to be mindful of everything while driving as part of my training. Keep an eye on the tyres of large vehicles and try to forecast where a motorcycle will travel. You must construct a bubble around your car and constantly process all of your visual inputs, including what you see in your mirrors. But I learned to drive around the time that mobile phones became available, and calls and texting were expensive. And you most emphatically did not have smartphones. It is depressing and terrifying to see road users in India utilising their iPhones while driving via a connected system. Not only can you use programmes like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but you can also actively type a message. When you observe a car driving much below the speed limit on a road with little to no traffic, you nearly invariably discover the driver tapping away on their smartphone, oblivious to your flashing lights or honking.  It’s common to see people driving little hatchbacks and fancy vehicles. I once saw a driver while on a video conference. Challans and other traffic enforcement operations are ineffective deterrents. The truth is that we are easily sidetracked nowadays, especially if we have a smartphone connected to the infotainment application. I’m also guilty of listening to music or listening to podcasts while driving.

This is when ADAS enters the picture. Assume you don’t see you’re driving right into the automobile in front of you or slowly drifting beyond your lane. Your Honda City Hybrid will, even if you don’t. The collision mitigation system will not only illuminate a large orange warning light in your instrument cluster, but you will also hear a loud ‘beep, beep’ sound. If you do not respond instantly, the automobile will gently apply the brakes before notifying you again. In the case of the lane change warning, the steering wheel vibrates and attempts to force you back into your lane.

Automobiles aren’t flawless.

A word of caution. These aid programmes, while useful, are not without flaws. The same may be said about a Mercedes-Benz S-Class as well as a Honda. While such technologies, like radar-assisted cruise control, are regarded as ‘Level 2’ autonomous capabilities (others consider this ‘Level 2.5’), they do not constitute autonomous driving. Could you use these features and take your hands off the wheel on the straight Taj Expressway? You can, and the car will move at the speed you choose for cruise control or at the speed of the vehicle in front of you, making minor modifications when the road curves. However, the steering wheel features a pressure sensor that detects when your hands are not on the wheel and alerts you loudly. There are significant legal responsibility considerations here. Because ADAS is becoming increasingly common in automobiles, you cannot blame the vehicle for failing to alert you that a jaywalker was crossing the road where they should not have been. You still should remain vigilant.

At the same time, amid India’s congested traffic, the systems can be rather unpleasant. While most ADAS systems in cars do not function at speeds below 20 kilometres per hour, hearing the alarms go off while driving at 30-35 kilometres per hour and a motorcyclist cuts in front of you is incredibly annoying. The same is true for the lane change warning. The automobile does not need to inform you about India’s bad lane discipline. However, you can simply disable the alert by using your indicators, so this could just be my imagination.

Epilogue:-

Finally, ADAS is now considered an ‘add-on’ option available on high-end vehicles. However, in Europe and China, these are quickly becoming necessities. ADAS technologies are required if automakers want higher ratings in the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro-NCAP) testing. It is only a matter of time before ADAS becomes necessary in some nations, and hence it may become mandatory in India as well. When that happens, turning off certain features may not be an option.

So, ADAS will be available in a vehicle near you very soon.

-Akhil Nair

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