Understanding the Levels of ADAS

ADAS—which stands for “advanced driver assistance system”—might seem like new technology, but it’s actually been around for decades. Practically since cars were invented, engineers have been trying to make cars safer, and ADAS is a big part of that.

From anti-lock brakes to forward lane collision warnings, ADAS helps you stay safe on the road. In today’s post, we’re breaking down the different levels of ADAS so you can understand this important safety feature in your car.

Keep reading to learn more!

ADAS 101

What is ADAS, exactly? It’s a system designed to help you, the driver, operate your car safely and effectively.

The first ADAS implemented in the United States was the anti-lock braking system. Since then, ADAS has only gotten more complex. (Here is a more in-depth read on the history of ADAS.)

Today’s ADAS uses cameras and sensors placed on the vehicle, in places like the front and rear bumpers, windshield, side mirrors, and more. These cameras and sensors must be precisely aimed on the car in order to work properly. (Check out our previous post on why ADAS calibration is important.)

ADAS sensors provide data from automotive imaging, LiDAR, radar, image processing, computer vision, and in-vehicle networking. The system then uses the data either to provide warnings to the driver or make decisions for the driver.

Understanding ADAS Levels

As we mentioned above, there are different levels to ADAS. The levels are based on the amount of automation involved.

Level 0

At level 0, the ADAS provides information to the driver.

Examples of level 0 ADAS include things like:

  • Lane departure warnings
  • Forward collision warnings
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Backup camera
  • Surround-view camera
  • Parking sensors

With this level of ADAS, the driver is still responsible for all of the car’s functions. The ADAS simply gives the driver additional information to help them make decisions—like letting them know someone is in their blind spot before they change lanes.

Level 1

At level 1, the ADAS takes over one function of the car. Level 1 ADAS is also known as driver assistance.

Examples of level 1 ADAS include:

  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Automatic emergency braking

This level of ADAS assists the driver, but doesn’t control the car entirely. The driver is still responsible for the majority of the functions of the car.

Level 2

At level 2, ADAS takes over more than one functionality of the car. It can control both steering and acceleration or braking.

Examples of level 2 ADAS include:

  • Autonomous parking
  • Highway assist
  • Autonomous obstacle avoidance

While the car might be partially autonomous, the driver still needs to monitor their surroundings and make most of the decisions.

Level 3

At level 3, also known as conditional automation, the ADAS system is able to manage most functions of the car in some circumstances. This allows the driver to let go of control; however, the system can’t handle all situations, so the driver has to be ready to take back control when prompted. Vehicles with level 3 ADAS should only control the car in light to moderate traffic and clear weather.

Examples of level 3 ADAS include:

  • Highway chauffeur
  • Emergency driver assistant
  • Environmental detection

Level 3 ADAS vehicles have environmental detection and could accelerate past a slow-moving car.

Level 4

At level 4, the ADAS is so sophisticated that the system can operate the vehicle in most circumstances. This level is also known as high automation. Human override isn’t needed most of the time; however, the vehicle isn’t fully autonomous.

Level 5

At level 5, the ADAS allows the vehicle to be fully autonomous. Human override isn’t needed; in fact, vehicles with level 5 ADAS wouldn’t even need a steering wheel or pedals for a driver to use. The vehicle’s occupants could sit in the backseat and allow the ADAS to chauffeur them to their destination.

What ADAS Levels Are Available?

It might be surprising, but level 2 is the highest ADAS level currently available in the U.S., in cars like the Tesla.

In the near future, level 3 ADAS is set to be available in several Mercedes-Benz sedans; however, they’ll only be available in California and Nevadas. This is the first level 3 ADAS approved for use in the U.S.

More common are ADAS levels 0 through 2. Anti-lock braking (level 1) has been standard in vehicles for decades. All but a few new cars offer at least one ADAS—often things like backup cameras, parking monitors, blind spot alerts, and adaptive cruise control.

As technology improves, we can expect to see ADAS get better and better—maybe even one day fully autonomous!

Need ADAS Calibration?

If you need ADAS calibration, Jack’s Glass can help.

Our team’s experience and cutting-edge solutions offer calibration accuracy down to the millimeter. We’ll keep your ADAS working as it should, so it’s ready to keep you safe on the road.

Call us today to learn what we can do for you.