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ADAS by Any Other Name

Safety groups adopt common language for key technologies
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(Source: Getty Images)

The proliferation of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) offered in today’s vehicles has created an alphabet soup of terms used to market and describe them.

In an effort to simplify things for car buyers, a coalition of industry groups has created a cheat sheet to define what does what—and what it’s called—in your new ride. The glossary was developed by AAA, Consumer Reports, JD Power, the National Safety Council and SAE International.

Clearing the Confusion

The common nomenclature is meant to be simple, specific and concise, based on system functionality. It all starts with the name of the campaign: Clearing the Confusion: Recommended Common Naming for Advanced Driver Assistance Technologies.

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The initial list covers 20 ADAS technologies. They’re categorized into five groups:

  • Collision Warning
  • Collision Intervention
  • Driving Control Assistance
  • Parking Assistance
  • Other Driver Assistance Systems

Updates will be made as needed as new systems are developed and introduced. The definitions build on SAE’s J3063 standard, which also will be updated to reflect the “Clearing the Confusion” terminology.

Proprietary Names Maintained

The naming convention and corresponding definitions are meant to reduce confusion and define the functions of ADAS in a consistent manner. Such clarification is critical to ensure drivers are aware these systems are designed to assist drivers, not replace them, the groups stress.

However, the terms aren't intended to replace proprietary names OEMs use to brand the technologies, they add.

That’s unfortunate.

In a 2019 report, AAA noted that as many as 20 different brand names are used for some systems. For example, adaptive cruise control also goes by prefixes such as smart, intelligent, dynamic radar, “distronic” and traffic aware.

Surround-view cameras are known as everything from 360° view monitor, intelligent around-view, multi-terrain, bird’s eye view, surround vision, top view and wide front view and side monitor.

The new list isn’t perfect. But it’s a great start.

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