Safe driving with ADAS

Emiliano Costa

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems improve safety reducing the risk of accidents, according to Aci and Bosch. A study carried out by the Filippo Caracciolo Foundation, in collaboration with the Turin Polytechnic University, showed that the presence on-board of driver assistance systems can boost accident prevention and correct many of the bad habits behind the wheel. The research, based on data from "black boxes" taken from a sample of 1.5 million vehicles in 2017 and 1.8 million in 2018, analysed the risk exposure of several car models sold in Italy, considering for the first time the number of kilometres driven. In the two years under review, these vehicles covered 11.5 billion kilometres in 2017 and 13 billion in 2018 respectively. The survey showed that a vehicle that has been registered for more than fifteen years is almost 50% more likely to be involved in a serious accident than one that has been registered for two years.

Cars equipped with more Adas are involved in accidents 5.7 times every million kilometres, while vehicles without such systems are three times more likely to be involved in an accident, up to 15 times every million kilometres. According to the latest data from ISTAT, in 2018, Italian roads witnessed a reduction in the number of road accidents, -1.5% (172,344) with a consequent drop in the number of victims -1.6% (3,325) and injuries -1.7% (242,621). As far as road deaths, the most affected categories were car occupants (42.7%), motorcyclists (23.8%) and pedestrians (18.3%). An unacceptable sacrifice on the altar of mobility from both a human and social point of view. And if quantified economically, this translates in an annual expenditure of 17.1 billion euro (1% of GDP). The causes, according to the National Institute of Statistics, are to be found in careless driving, mostly due to the use of smartphones, failing to give way and high speed. Looking at the causes of accidents, it is clear that the presence of Adas systems on board could play a key role in reducing certain risks. Take for example an adaptive cruise control (Acc) that maintains a fixed distanced from the vehicle ahead, or road sign recognition, able to “read”, by means of a camera, stop signs, give way signs etc., not to mention driver alert sleep warning devices designed to evaluate whether a driver is in the condition to drive at all, and anti-collision systems that, through sensors and video cameras, warn the drivers of any obstacles in the direction of travel and brakes automatically. And it is precisely this braking assistance system that produces the greatest benefits. At least according to the researchers of the Filippo Caracciolo Foundation and the Turin Polytechnic University. Some models equipped with this technology, in fact, have up to 38% less chances of being involved in a road accident than cars without it. On top-of-the-range vehicles up to 4 out of 10 accidents can be prevented while on smaller utility models, up to 2 out of 10 accidents can be avoided. However, despite the clear benefits, cars equipped with the brake assist system on our roads are still limited. Only 1 out of 5 vehicles have this technology as standard equipment: a figure that could easily be improved, considering that the system can be adopted by 75% of all currently circulating vehicles.

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