What driver assistance systems are there?
- Lane-keep assist systems (LKAS)
- Advanced cruise control
- Parking assist
- Front collision warning
- Automatic emergency braking (AEB)
- Blind spot warning
- Night vision
As cars have become more technologically advanced, so have the assistance systems they offer. Look at the specification of any new car and it’s likely you’ll be confronted by a postcode-wide list of systems which have been installed to keep occupants, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users as safe as possible.
The problem is, they usually use a baffling list of acronyms and terminology. So in order to make things a bit clearer, we’ve gone through some of the key terms used today and what they mean.
Lane-keep assist systems (LKAS)
This is one of the more self-explanatory systems, we’ll admit. However, if you’re planning on purchasing or even test driving a car with LKAS, it’s a good idea to know what it is beforehand.
The most basic systems will alert you if the car senses that you’re drifting out of a lane, while more advanced versions will actually counter-steer if it can tell that you’re verging away from the straight and narrow.
Advanced cruise control
Advanced cruise control is one of those features which, once you’ve tested it, you’ll struggle to live without. Again, there are various levels of assistance, but most use radar to judge the speed of the vehicle ahead and adjust your car’s speed in accordance.
They’ll also be capable of applying the brakes should the car in front begin to slow down. It really does take the backache out of longer trips.
With cars getting bigger and spaces staying the same size, getting a car parked can prove quite the challenge these days. Particularly in cities and urban areas, edging a vehicle into a space can turn into quite a stressful procedure.
And that’s where parking assist comes in. Most are capable of assessing the size of a space, taking control of the steering and parking it into a bay - all you need to do is control the throttle and brakes. They’re usually capable of doing parallel parking manoeuvres, too.
Front collision warning
Another system which has a comprehensive effect on a car’s safety levels is front collision warning. Using sensors at the front of the car, the system can detect obstacles in the road ahead and alert the driver. It’ll also sound the alarm should a pedestrian or cyclist come in front of the car.
As well as an alert, some cars will be able to assist with braking - though it’s still down to the driver to bring the car to a stop.
Automatic emergency braking (AEB)
Automatic emergency braking takes the basic principle of forward collision warning and takes it one level further. In fact, should the system detect a potential collision, the car can apply the brakes to prevent an incident.
Some more advanced systems are even capable of swerving around an obstacle and can scan the opposite lane to ensure it’s clear.
Blind spot warning
Checking your blind spot is a day-to-day part of driving and it’s something that is instilled in all of us from the very first moment we get behind the wheel. It’s an area which modern cars have built upon, bringing technology into the mix to make this area of driving even safer.
Using a light embedded in the wing mirror, the system illuminates the area when it detects a vehicle in your blind spot. It’s a simple piece of technology but one which works really well in practice.
There was a time when night vision in a car would’ve been the talk of science fiction, but not any more. First introduced in the high-end Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it has now trickled down to more mainstream models providing everyday drivers with the space-age tech.
Usually displayed in a vehicle’s instrument binnacle, the system relays a black and white image of the road ahead and is capable of highlighting obstacles in the road ahead which might have been missed by the headlights.