From ADAS to Autonomous Driving Smart Cars Evolve at Full Throttle
Cars have been playing a key role in our daily life, but with more digital content and technologies involved, they are transforming from just a kind of machines to systems with smart capabilities. It’s no exaggeration to say that today’s cars are actually “smartphones with four wheels,” as rapid advancements in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving have fundamentally changed the entire auto industry and deeply influenced the semiconductor and microelectronics sectors.
ADAS use sensors, radar/lidar and machine vision technologies to enable capabilities like blind spot monitoring, night vision assistant, parking aid, adaptive cruise control (with speed limiters,) collision warning, lane departure warning and emergency braking. The main goal is to improve driver safety and reduce traffic accident rates. Meanwhile, autonomous driving technologies are enabling constant advancements of ADAS and adding vehicle-to-everything (V2x) communication capabilities to cars. With advanced data processing capabilities and latest AI components, we can totally do without the role of human drivers.
Therefore, we can say that developing ADAS is a necessary step towards full-blown autonomous cars. ADAS have become a standard feature of many new cars, and traffic laws in some advanced countries even require new cars to adopt these systems. IHS Markit estimated that global ADAS shipment will reach 302 million units by 2022. As for automated driving systems above Level 4— as defined by a five-level classification system published the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — Level 4 means “high driving automation” while Level 5 represents “full driving automation.” These two levels basically require no human intervention, and both are expected to become more widely adopted in 2025, when 600,000 autonomous cars are expected to hit the roads worldwide.
Eyeing such a great opportunity, many semiconductor and microelectronics companies have seen the next killer application in cars. While car manufacturing was a more isolated sector in the past, new technologies have given ICT vendors an opportunity to participate in the industry. For ADAS to keep evolving towards fully automated cars, the auto industry and the high-tech sector must work together to overcome today’s technical challenges.