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Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) should improve the world of car safety. Unfortunately, each brand has adopted a name for simple systems meant to protect the drivers on the road. What can safety groups do to ensure drivers understand systems like Blind Spot Warning (BSW)? Kelley Blue Book says that groups like AAA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are getting involved.

What are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)?

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems keep highways like this safe
Traffic on Highway 280 in Palo Alto, California | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kelley Blue Book says that the different names can mislead and confuse buyers. Blind-Spot Monitoring (BSM) or Blind-Spot Warning is a common Advanced Driver Assistance System. Most modern cars, trucks, and SUVs have a system that alerts drivers to items that could be out of view.

That could be a tree, a car, or even a garage wall the driver is getting too close to. But even blind spot monitoring goes by a variety of names. Call it Blind Spot Warning, some call it Blind Spot Detection, and Volvo even calls it blind spot information system. That’s just one ADAS an automaker might include in a new car.

That’s why AAA, Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, the National Safety Council, Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE), and SAE International are working to change the naming issue. Automakers want car safety features to minimize the impact of accidents or prevent an accident altogether, and uniform names might help drivers do that.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems can have confusing names

GM has a Forward Collision Alert (FCA) that alerts drivers to a possible collision, which is simple enough. Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support will apply brakes if it sees a stationary object, but the rest remains unclear. One of the most significant issues has been Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” system, which people reasonably think is fully self-driving. That isn’t the case, and Tesla was forced to walk back claims about Full Self-Driving in the past.

The previously mentioned groups want to standardize these terms to make it easier for drivers. For instance, Forward Collision Warning would alert drivers to danger in front of the vehicle, which makes sense given the name. Automatic Emergency Braking would apply the brakes for drivers in an emergency, which also seems self-explanatory.

A spokesperson for the group said, “The standardized terms were created to provide clarity to consumers by naming and describing the functions of ADAS in a consistent, easy-to-understand manner.” This would make it easier for new drivers, older drivers, or anyone out of the loop to understand what the system does before getting behind the wheel.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and AAA are getting involved

The groups also left room for “marketing names,” a way for brands to dress up the names as long as the lexicon remains the same. Hopefully, this will reduce customer confusion among drivers.

Kelley Blue Book says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced it would begin testing the systems and offering a rating similar to its crash testing. AAA already started testing some ADAS and didn’t have great results. Even simple systems like Automatic Emergency braking (AEB) and Lane-Keeping Assist (LKA) proved unreliable in everyday driving situations.

The point of all Advanced Driver Assistance Systems is to make driving safer for the driver and others on the road. ADAS are useful bits of technology, even if the names are confusing.


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