Category:Autonomous Systems

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Statistics have proven that more than 90% of all road accidents are caused by human error. Active road safety measures have the objective to avoid such accidents. Among these, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) more particularly aim at raising drivers’ awareness of potentially hazardous situations, thus reducing human error. ADAS can also be described as autonomous systems as they are in-vehicle based only.

Projects and applications

In recent years, several field operational tests have been conducted all over Europe, the United States and Asia, which assessed various ADAS applications. The most discussed include: adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, speed limit assistance, curve speed assistance, dangerous spot warning, and intersection collision avoidance.

Assessing the results of ADAS

Results of hitherto conducted FOTs do not provide a clear picture on the effectiveness and safety impact of the systems. The evaluation results on how many accidents could be prevented usually come with quite a high uncertainty margin. Furthermore, the various FOTs differ in the (detailed) application settings and in those parameters relevant for transferring results to other contexts, such as the road network, vehicle fleet, traffic situation, and probably also cultural differences in driver behaviour.

However, most projects conclude that due to prolonged headway times and distances to other vehicles, there is a positive impact on safety. Nevertheless, there are also drawbacks of which the safety impacts are not clear yet. There is for example the possibility that users become so confident that the systems will prevent accidents that they tend to engage in secondary tasks or take additional risks.

Moreover, the effect of a bundle of ADA systems so far remains unclear. Sure is that the effects of single systems cannot simply be added up. Several systems address the same type of conflict situation (e.g. ACC and FCW both lead to longer headway times thus reducing conflict situations) and one avoided crash in these situations cannot be credited to both systems.

Any additional safety impact of course is desirable but for a broad market deployment it is necessary to know if the additional investment is justified by the cost-benefit ratio.

FOTs to foster the take-up of ADAS

Besides evaluating the safety impact of ADAS, the FOTs also contributed to raising awareness for the relevance of such safety systems with political decision makers and users (fleet managers, drivers), thus pushing the market take-up. A good example of this effect is the Dutch AOS project. The project was initiated by the Ministry of Transport and more than 2,000 lorries from different freight operators were involved in the test. Several public and high-level events ensured that the results were broadly disseminated. After the successful tests, fleet owners aimed to equip all their vehicles with the systems.

Open issues

Despite the number of FOTs that have already been conducted, there are still many open issues to be addressed in further field tests and through a further evaluation of results, including the potential safety gain of different applications and of a bundle of applications, the impact of possible negative side effects, and the transferability of results to other contexts.

Source of information

FOT-Net Brochure, November 2010

List of Autonomous Systems FOTs

"Autonomous System" is a category of the FOT Catalogue. To see the full list of FOTs by countries, go back to the FOT Catalogue. To look at other FOT categories, see also the catalogue of FOTs by categories.

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