Driver assistance systems in all cars would cut crashes by a quarter, says research

Car accidents could be reduced by 24% if every car in the UK was fitted with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), researchers said.

The research also found Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) to be the most effective technology, reducing three of the four most frequent crash categories: intersections (by 28%), rear-end collisions (by 27.7%) and pedestrians (by 28 .4 percent).

The research was funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) under their Academic-Industry Partnership programme.

Based on publicly available UK road safety reports for 2019, the research team estimated that a full implementation of ADAS would reduce UK crash frequency by 23.8%, equivalent to an estimated annual decrease of 18,925 accidents.

Existing research shows that connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) are expected to substantially improve road safety, including reducing the frequency and severity of accidents.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), as of May 2018, 92.7% of new vehicles in the United States have at least one ADAS. In the UK and EU, vehicles with ADAS including AEB are becoming more common.

Lead author Leandro Masello, data scientist at Motion-S, said that while ADAS offers significant road safety benefits, its performance is often limited by harsh conditions, such as severe weather.

“The driving environment affects vehicle dynamics and sensor capabilities,” he said. “A system that brakes suddenly to avoid an accident will work better in dry weather than in adverse conditions such as driving rain and ice, which reduce tire traction and can cause the vehicle to skid.

“Similarly, inclement weather also impairs the ability of sensors to perceive the environment accurately. For example, a snowstorm could obstruct the camera vision system or obscure lane boundaries.”

Co-author Dr German Castignani said road safety reports are a vital source of information for the continued development of the automotive industry as they help to study the distribution of accident environmental conditions.

“They provide information about the vehicles and injured people involved and the circumstances of the accident (eg geographical, temporal and road information). Our work leverages that data to estimate potential crash reductions that ADAS can mitigate,” he added.

In the future, the widespread availability of driverless cars has been touted as a possible solution to road accidents, with some researchers suggesting that up to 90% of accidents could be avoided.

However, in 2020, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted a study where it found that, in reality, autonomous vehicles can only reduce crashes by a third, unless the driving style of the AI is not optimized for security rather than speed or convenience.

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