What is ADAS? How does ADAS work?

Driving assistance systems

The world of mobility is becoming increasingly smarter. Many vehicles are equipped with driver assistance systems (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, ADAS) that are a step towards fully automated vehicles. With the arrival of ADAS, a modern car has become a piece of technology in which software plays an increasingly important role. These ADAS make it easier for the driver and can contribute to road safety. However, road safety is not just about the vehicle, but also about the environment and human behavior.

What exactly is ADAS?

ADAS use software and hardware (including cameras, radar, lidar and sensors). Powerful computers process all information and give the car commands. ADAS can inform the driver, warn the driver, take over driving tasks partially or completely from the driver and/or intervene in critical situations.

Lane assistance

A well-known example of ADAS is Lane Departure Warning (LDW). LDW warns the driver if the lane threatens to be accidentally left. The driver is alerted to this with a slight vibration in the steering wheel and/or an audio signal. Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) goes a step further than LDW and automatically steers the vehicle back into the lane, unless the driver overrules this correction.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Cruise Control ensures that a car continues to drive at the preset speed. Adaptive Cruise Control goes one step further. In principle, the speed of the car remains constant at a predetermined level, but automatically adapts to a slower moving vehicle in front. This means that the distance to the vehicle in front remains constant, even if the vehicle in front brakes suddenly.

Human behavior

The majority of current ADAS systems are still intended for situations in which the driver retains control or only transfers it temporarily and to a limited extent. For the safe use of these ADAS systems, it is important that the driver knows how the systems work and uses these systems as intended. In addition, the systems must be designed in such a way that they invite intended use. RDW involves knowledge institutes in this area (SWOV, CBR, TNO) in developing international requirements for ADAS systems.


A number of ADAS impose requirements on the road infrastructure, for example markings and signage. Road signs must be clear and meet standards so that a vehicle can read them.