Automated driving is frequently touted as bringing vastly increased safety to our roads in the future. Wrong! Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are doing the lion’s share of the work right now and will be on virtually all cars sold well before automated vehicles are commonplace in dealer showrooms.
In fact, ADAS have served to increase safety for years thanks to automakers and regulators bringing specialized and highly capable crash avoidance systems to market. Starting in the late 1990’s, the earliest systems offered warnings only: forward collisions, lane departures, blind spots. These features, along with Adaptive Cruise Control, were relatively expensive and could only be found on luxury vehicles. Uptake was modest at first, but the perceived value started to grow in the 00’s. Prices came down as sales volumes increased. The next step up in capability was active intervention, in the form of Honda’s Collision Mitigation Braking System introduced in 2003. Nowadays these interventions also include steering nudges to keep you in your lane, whether drifting or trying to change lanes when another car is in your blind spot.