Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computers.
In automotive, this intelligence is known as ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. ADAS includes technologically advanced features that enhance the safe operation of automobiles by increasing the driver’s reaction time to potential driving dangers. These systems use sensor technologies to sense the world around a vehicle and either warn the driver or take corrective action if needed.
Recognizable forms of ADAS began in the early 2000s. Examples include Cadillac’s Night Vision and Infiniti’s Lane Departure Warning technology. Today’s technology incorporates safety systems such as:
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) – Automatically adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
- Anti-lock Braking (ABS) – Reduces braking distance by preventing wheel lockup and vehicle skids.
- Collision Avoidance System (CAS) – Monitors vehicle speed, the speed of a vehicle in front, and the distance between vehicles, to provide a warning if the distance becomes unsafe.
- Adaptive High Beam Assist – Tailors headlight range to maximize range of beam while avoiding interference with other drivers.
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW) – Warns a driver when the vehicle drifts out of its lane. This warning system is muted when a turn signal is activated in the same direction.
- Traction Control System (TCS) – Prevents the loss of traction, or wheel-spin, to the drive wheels of the vehicle. Activation occurs when accelerator input and torque transfer do not match road surface conditions.
ADAS sensors are positioned in various locations. Most commonly, they are found in the front and rear bumpers, side mirror cameras, and front windshields. To provide accurate input to the various systems, it’s critical that these sensors are properly calibrated. Automotive manufacturers indicate that it is mandatory to recalibrate ADAS with any of the following scenarios.
- ADAS warning lights illuminated or flashing
- Vehicle collision
- Modifications that change vehicle road height
- Sensor replacement
- Windshield replacement
There are two types of calibration methods: dynamic calibration and static calibration.
Dynamic calibration involves a handheld device plugged into the vehicle’s system. The vehicle is then driven a specific distance and speed, based on the vehicle manufacturer’s requirement. This will adapt the ADAS to regular road conditions.
Static calibration is performed on a stationary vehicle in a specialized workspace. Handheld devices are replaced by ultra-sensitive equipment that uses targets to read each module or feature and returns sensors to optimal functionality.
Whether it’s advancements in safety features or future development of autonomous vehicles, ADAS will continue to be the AI that drives these technologies. Tomorrow’s technicians will not only need the training, but also the proper equipment to restore these safety systems.