Automated Driver Assistance Systems

Many new vehicles today, are equipped with Automated Drive Assistance Systems (ADAS).

This new technology is great and can make driving much safer but can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

What this means to the driver: A vehicle that can help to avoid dangerous situations and make long trips on the highway less tiresome.

Things to remember about ADAS: These are not self-driving vehicles and taking the time to experience how these systems can automatically steer, brake, and accelerate is an important part of getting the most from the added safety they can offer the driver (and others around ADAS equipped vehicles). Being familiar with the capabilities will also help the driver to know when not to rely on the ADAS system.

3 Basic types of ADAS: The auto industry has come up with more than 40 different gimmicky names for these systems, such as ProPilot Assist, Autopilot, Super Cruise, Co-Pilot360, or Pilot Assist. This makes it hard as a consumer to understand what the vehicle is capable of.

As of today, (spring 2019), all these different names boil down to 3 groups of systems that may be present on the vehicle.


This feature can control certain driving tasks, under some conditions

  • Adaptive cruise control. This will help maintain the following distance from the vehicle ahead of you. This is almost always paired with collision mitigation.
  • Lane keep assist. This is the system that will guide the vehicle back towards the center of the driving lane.

Join these two together and you have a system like GM’s Super Cruise or Tesla’s Autopilot.

Super Cruise uses a camera to ensure the driver is paying attention whereas Tesla requires the driver to touch the steering wheel to keep the system engaged.

Collision Mitigation

This system uses the brakes to avoid or reduce the severity of a collision.

  • Automatic emergency braking (AEB) automatically applies the brakes in the face of imminent collision, if the driver fails to.
  • This system is sometimes paired with lane keep assist to help steer away from an avoidable object.

This is the system that has perhaps the greatest benefits short of full self-driving. AEB significantly reduces the chance of collision, thereby reducing costs, inconvenience and lives. AEB is planned to be a standard feature on all models for as many 20 different brands of vehicles by the 2022 model year.

Collision Alerts

These are passive warning systems that help to warn of potential danger but do not have any actual control over the vehicle. This could be thought of as like, the Check Engine Light or Low Tire Pressure Warning messages virtually all vehicles are now equipped with.

  • Blindspot warnings, generally simple with a flashing light on the side mirror when another vehicle is present beside you.
  • Lane departure warning, chimes and or possibly vibrates the seat or steering wheel to alert the driver they may be drifting from the driving lane.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert, chimes, and or vibrates the seat if there is a vehicle approaching from the side while reversing.
  • Forward collision warning normally flashes lights on the dash or windshield and may make a warning sound if there is potential for collision when moving forward.


Maintenance Concerns

Potholes, minor collisions (maybe the bumper cover just has a scratch on it), worn-out steering and suspension components, these all will have an effect on the calibration of driver assistant systems.

Most times a significant change to the basic calibration will cause a warning light to come on, but not always.

Some symptoms that something is not right with an ADAS system without showing a warning light may include:

  • Traction control activates even though there is adequate traction.
  • Steering that pulls to one side when driving on straight, flat road.
  • Automated braking that applies too soon, or (hopefully not) too late.
  • Lane departure warning or lane keep assist that reacts closer to one side of the lane than the other.
  • Side traffic alert that is missing vehicles or sees vehicles in the wrong place.

Many times, these symptoms can be corrected with calibration adjustments.

ADAS system calibration requires technician training, reliable technical information, high-quality tools, and instrumentation.

Green Tree Auto Care can calibrate these systems for you. Our technicians regularly complete training on modern vehicle systems and use the most up-to-date and sophisticated equipment available to conduct servicing on your vehicle.

An annual complete vehicle inspection including a wheel alignment check, all onboard computer module fault code scan can go a long way towards ensuring these systems are functioning properly and will work as intended when a dangerous driving situation arises.

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