Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS)

Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are technologies that support drivers in driving and parking their vehicles. The main objective of the ADAS is to help reduce the number of car accidents caused by human error. 

Some examples of the ADAS features include parking sensors, adaptive cruise control (ACC), automatic emergency braking, and driver drowsiness detection. ADAS are mainly intended to make the traffic safer but some of these systems, for example, the navigation, rather enhance the driver’s comfort.

How do ADAS work?

ADAS consist of various chips that connect sensors to actuators through interfaces and electronic control units (ECUs). An ECU receives input from one or several parts of the car and uses that information to take action. For example, an airbag ECU receives information from crash sensors and seat sensors. In case of a crash, the ECU decides which airbags to deploy depending on where passengers are sitting. Then it tells the actuators to deploy them. The actuators convert the electrical signal into the physical value needed, using valves, injectors or relays.

Compared to the driver-assistance systems (DAS), the advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) receive inputs describing the environment outside the car. So, in addition to the data processed by the car platform, there is additional information available from separate sources, such as other cars (from vehicle-to-vehicle communication), and infrastructure (from vehicle-to-infrastructure communication).

The future of ADAS

The advanced driver-assistance systems and the whole electronic architecture of cars are becoming increasingly complex with a shift towards autonomous (self-driving) vehicles. The trend is moving from distributed ECUs to a more integrated ADAS domain controller with centralized ECUs. One of the challenges is the increase in the data volumes that the in-car systems need to handle. To tackle this, the new integrated domain controllers require higher performance, smaller packaging, and lower power consumption.