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In regard to car safety, many automakers are beginning to add ADA (active driving assistance) systems to their vehicles. There’s still a lot of room to go before cars can drive themselves, but we’ve come a long way in just a few years. Consumer Reports has tested and ranked several automakers and their ADA systems, ranging from the Tesla Auto Pilot to Ford’s BlueCruise. What came as a surprise from this test is that a certain South Korean automaker failed to impress.

What is an ADA (active driving assistance) system?

A visualization of Hyundai's ADA (active driving assistance) system called Highway Driving Assist
The Hyundai Highway Driving Assist ADA system | Hyundai Motor America

You may have heard some wild stories about cars that can drive themselves, but as mentioned before, there is currently no such automation. At least not one approved to be driven on the roadway by itself.

What we currently have are active driving assistance systems. According to Consumer Reports, “In the simplest terms, ADA is the simultaneous use of a car’s adaptive cruise control (ACC) to control speed and lane centering assistance (LCA) to control steering. ACC is an advanced form of cruise control that brakes or accelerates to keep the car a set distance from vehicles traveling ahead of you in your lane. LCA provides steering support to keep the vehicle at or near the center of the lane.”

It’s important to note that while the features are stellar enough that you may feel like you can just let the car drive itself, you still need to remain focused on the road. You may be close to beating a level on Candy Crush, but you can’t play with your phone while your ADA system handles the car. 

There have been numerous wrecks caused by drivers who allow the ADA to take full control of the car. The day may come when we have fully autonomous vehicles, but that’s still at least several years away.

Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist system didn’t perform well

Hyundai has made vast improvements over the years and is slowly becoming a critic darling. However, its ADA system, Highway Driving Assist, isn’t doing it any favors.

Highway Driving Assist, also used by Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis and Kia, partially owned by Hyundai, did not impress Consumer Reports. In fact, it has the lowest score out of any ADA system tested. 

It scored above average for Ease of Use, and Capabilities and Performance. The rest of the scores, such as Keeping Driver Engaged, Clear When Safe to Use, and Unresponsive Driver, received very poor scores that helped bring the Highway Driving Assist system down.

Whether Hyundai will update Highway Driving Assist going forward is unclear, but it’s probably a good idea. If the South Korean automaker wishes to keep up with the competition, this isn’t really an option.

Which ADA systems earned the highest rank?

Unfortunately, Hyundai doesn’t have a great ADA system, but if you’re the type of driver who craves something where the car does more of the work, there are plenty of options. Ford BlueCruise and Lincoln ActiveGlide placed at the highest slot.

Consumer Reports was intrigued with the way Ford BlueCruise operates. It received lots of praise for handling the little details of driving, like slowing down or accelerating on its own. In fact, Consumer Reports referred to it as “eerie and amazing.”

While neither system earned a perfect score, they came very close. BlueCruise and ActiveGlide earned high scores in Capabilities and Performance, Keeping Driver Engaged, and Clear When Safe to Use. The categories Ease of Use and Unresponsive Driver earned lower scores.

Some drivers may not wish to have an ADA system on their vehicles because they find driving relaxing, and some of us don’t want to hand control over to a machine. For those looking for a good car with a reliable ADA system, then Ford BlueCruise and Lincoln ActiveGlide are great choices. Just don’t be fully reliant on Hyundai Highway Driving Assist until some of the kinks are worked out.

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