Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Continue To Cause Confusion

Over the past decade, we’ve seen a major increase in the availability of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in vehicles. Today, 93 percent of new vehicles are equipped with at least one ADAS feature. Many people either don’t know whether their vehicle has these features or are completely confused by them – including those within the automotive industry who sell, service and insure the vehicles. There are three primary reasons for this.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Continue to Cause Confusion

ADAS features aren’t exclusively for safety

Though they all result in increasing safety while driving, the features fall into multiple categories. Safety, of course, but also infotainment, convenience and drivetrain covering many different types of types of ADAS features.

ADAS features include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic braking
  • Automatic parking
  • Blind spot detection system
  • Collision avoidance system
  • Crosswind stabilization
  • Driver drowsiness detection
  • Driver monitoring system
  • Electric vehicle warning sounds
  • Emergency driver assistance
  • Forward collision warning
  • Glare free high beams
  • Hill descent control
  • Intelligent speed adaptation
  • Intersection assistant
  • Lane change assistance system
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Lane keep/centering
  • Navigation system voice guidance
  • Night vision
  • Parking sensors
  • Seatbelt pretensioner
  • Speed limit indicator
  • Semi-Autonomous Systems
  • Surround view system
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Vehicular communication system
  • Wrong way driving warning

There is no standardization in how ADAS features are named

Rather than having a standardized naming convention for ADAS features, every manufacturer brands them differently, as they traditionally do with vehicle features (i.e. engine brand names such as Hemi). They use fancy marketing names in attempts to further differentiate the features from competitors.

For Semi-Autonomous Systems alone, there are seven prominent brand names. For example, Cadillac brands its version “Super Cruise” while Volvo goes with “Pilot Assist.” Many of the systems function about the same, apart from a few that are much more advanced than others – providing more convenience and more safety to the overall driving experience.

Many ADAS features are completely invisible

ADAS systems consist of actuators, sensors and processors. They can be over-the-air software capabilities working together to reduce the risk of an accident. Often, you wouldn’t even know your vehicle had any of these features until the vehicle senses a potential danger and engages the system.

What this means for the industry

So, what does this all equate to? Confusion for car shoppers primarily, especially when they are weighing the additional cost and determining if owning a safer vehicle makes a difference in ownership costs. Does all this extra safety make one vehicle cheaper to insure over another? Will these systems cost more to repair or replace after the vehicle’s warranty expires and they stop working or are damaged in an accident?

This is where standardization can really come into play and benefit everyone involved in all aspects of buying and owning vehicles. Everything from purchasing to trade-in to remarketing to insuring to servicing to repairing.

We know that the research process a shopper goes through to determine the right car has traditionally been confusing in itself. So many models are available, and each manufacturer refers to the various features available for each model in their line-up differently. Then there is figuring out the right value on trade-in – the consumer making sure he/she is getting the max amount and the dealer making sure not to overpay to ensure a profit at auction or on the dealership’s lot. The addition of ADAS equipment just adds to the chaos.

Understanding all of the ADAS features present on a given vehicle makes a material difference to companies servicing the digital retailing user experience. Car shoppers experience hundreds of touchpoints online before finally deciding on which vehicle to buy. A typical journey starts on Google (searches, including image searches) and results in visits to auto manufacturer websites, third-party research portals (i.e. Edmunds, KBB, TrueCar), third-party inventory listings sites (i.e. AutoTrader, CarGurus), multiple dealer websites and even banking websites (utilization of payment calculators and other finance tools). This process creates far too many opportunities for a vehicle to be misrepresented, and this breakdown causes confusion.

The chaos extends to the companies who service consumers directly with automotive services, such as insurance providers. ADAS systems can impact the frequency or severity of an accident or be costly to repair, and this has a direct impact on auto policies. During the insurance quoting process, backend applications lacking the capability to describe all equipment accurately and completely (i.e. available vs. equipped) or overlooking any ADAS equipment can result in incorrect quotes. This can impact costs downstream, particularly when it comes time to repair or replace this equipment.

Another example is a windshield repair company. Say a driver shows up to someone’s home to replace a vehicle’s windshield not knowing that the vehicle is equipped with optional camera and sensors that are part of the windshield. The driver may show up with the wrong replacement windshield. This costs the company time, money and most likely disappoints or frustrates their customer.

What can solve this problem?

Easily and intuitively understanding all ADAS equipment on a given vehicle is crucial for companies that power digital retailing or service vehicle owners directly. For example, standardizing vehicle feature and equipment marketing names so they can be understood by car shoppers throughout their online shopping experience ensures they find the actual vehicles that fit their preferences and needs.

The ability to highlight the most notable ADAS features on selected VINs allows dealer website providers to provide their dealers with more engaging VDPs for their inventory. More engagement results in increased conversions. All of this results in enabling companies that power digital retailing and service vehicle owners directly to provider an overall better user experience for car shoppers while reducing the potential for increased costs.

This can happen by standardizing ADAS equipment and pairing it with other key content that can help further describe the features and functionality of the equipment and systems. It is one thing to know a Nissan Altima being researched or in the process of getting insured is equipped with ProPilot Assist, but it is entirely different to know what specific equipment/systems make up this “feature” and how it can reduce fatigue while commuting to work in traffic, reduce the risk of an accident or how costly is might be to repair.

This is all achieved with normalizing ADAS offerings across manufacturers within a format that works to easily power automotive websites, car shopping tools such as configurators and comparators or in data applications for insurance quotes, claims and studies. Yes, studies – insurance companies pair all vehicle features with customer profiles, allowing them to know that when a vehicle has a carbon fiber gear shift knob, they are about to insure a spirited driver. This can all be further supported with the utilization of video content and 3D animations that help easily and visually explain these complex systems.

What does this all mean? It is one thing to standardize the countless ADAS features (and other key features on a vehicle) for car shoppers, but it is an entirely other thing to do it for the business side of the automotive ecosystem.

We can help

Autodata Solutions has products to help make sense of it all. We provide automotive VIN services that call out ADAS and other key features, as well as categorize them. Powered by deep and comprehensive standardized vehicle data and configuration rules, our automotive VIN services are fully configurable to provide your business the desired requested vehicle descriptions.

The need for proper vehicle descriptions is only growing stronger. Specificity when merchandising a vehicle, especially when it comes to identifying options that are not easily visible, like Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. These key equipment groups, option packages and individual options add significant value to a vehicle. Utilizing a robust VIN decode and description service will help mitigate the risk of inaccurate vehicle valuations.

We also offer a dynamic, data-rich media library allowing you to optimize our comprehensive collection of vehicle data to drive more engagement and conversions. We map our robust vehicle data to our vast library of images, videos and content to create a compelling shopping experience for your customers.

We can provide your business with the exact data set your vertical requires. For example, auto insurance is a vertical that is particularly competitive and rate sensitive. Insurance carriers need every pricing advantage, not only to keep up, but to grow their portfolios. Today, certain vehicle features, such as ADAS, can reduce the frequency or severity of loss. Premium discounts for such features can be the difference between winning and losing a quote.

About the author

Charlie Schiavone is the Product Portfolio VP at Autodata Solutions. With a career focused on a combination of core vehicle data and product development specifically for the online automotive user experience, Charlie not only understands the strength of data-driven applications but also is able to implement them. Charlie has held a number of responsibilities at Edmunds, Total Car Score, Autobytel and AutoWeb. Email: