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How to Build Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for Autonomous Vehicles

As the world’s leading automotive companies continue to develop safer, future-ready vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS automotive for short, are becoming more commonplace. Moreover, as the technology of autonomous vehicles improves, ADAS software will be increasingly in demand. By 2035, autonomous cars may account for up to 25% of all vehicles sold worldwide.

What is ADAS in automotive and an autonomous vehicle

ADAS is a driver assistance system based on machine vision. The ADAS automotive systems aim to improve traffic safety by informing the driver and attracting attention. At a minimum, this is an audible or vibrating warning to the driver of a potential or emerging risk that requires attention. At a maximum, it involves independent emergency decision-making by the system.

The principle of operation of ADAS: the system transmits information to the vehicle’s driver about difficult traffic situations and accidents. Message transmission requires various devices, such as a touch screen and video sensors, which warn the driver in an emergency. The system can distinguish from up to a hundred dangerous situations that can occur if the driver of the car is inattentive. ADAS software alerts the driver with vibration, touch screen messages, or sound. The software runs continuously, both while driving and when stopped.

In technical terms, an autonomous vehicle is an advanced vehicle equipped with a self-driving system that can move without a driver. This is a prime example of the technological revolution that has been embodied in drones. Engineers have managed to eliminate the need for a person behind the wheel, bringing the future closer.

Autonomy levels

Self-driving cars are vehicles that drive safely on public roads without human intervention; they are controlled by a computer and sensors combined into a single autonomous driving system. The autonomy level of the system is set by its manufacturer.

The zero level of automation implies its complete absence. The fifth level, the highest level, in turn, means that the system drives the car as well as an experienced driver does. The levels are defined by SAE International, the professional association of automotive engineers, and briefly describe how much a particular system is ready to give control of the car into the “hands” of a computer.

Categories start at Level 0 (cars with ABS and cruise control are included).

At Level 1, the car already helps the driver a little: there are, for example, adaptive cruise control and steering or braking control, but only one of the two.

The Level 2 control system can control both steering and braking, but, like the level before, only under certain circumstances: for example, the driver has to intervene on a highway. To put it simply, the car can drive itself, but the driver needs to be ready to take control at any time.

At Level 3, the car has a little more autonomy, which means the driver has more time to react and take control of the car in any incomprehensible situation. If Level 2 assumes that the driver is always watching the road and is ready to turn on at any moment, then at Level 3 the role of the driver is to be in reserve.

With Level 4 automation, the system takes full control, allowing the driver to rest, but only if all conditions are created for this: for example, there are highly detailed three-dimensional maps so that the system knows where it is with an accuracy of a couple of centimeters. Most developers try to create systems of this level.

Level 5 assumes full automation. In this hypothetical situation, there is not even a steering wheel in front of the driver’s seat. According to the Autonomous Vehicle Technology Report 2020, there is no working autonomy level 5 technology worldwide. Experts do not expect the emergence of such technologies in the foreseeable future: highly automated systems will be used only as advanced driver assistants.

How ADAS software works in autonomous cars

Integrated navigation systems allow you to determine the car’s location and the best route to the destination. This considers information about traffic jams (via the Internet), speed limits on various road sections, etc.

Susceptible sensors are responsible for recognizing vehicles in front. The data is sent to the onboard computer, and the car instantly reacts to any changes on the way (sharp braking of the front car, a pedestrian who jumped out onto the roadway, etc.)

The LIDAR optical rangefinder is installed on the car’s roof and rotates to scan the space within a radius of up to 100 meters. The received information is processed and, together with the data from the navigation system, is transformed into a three-dimensional map, which is used to draw up a route.

Internal cameras are mounted on the windshield and help recognize the color signals of traffic lights and objects approaching a potentially dangerous distance. Moreover, their vision does not suffer in the dark.

All these built-in sensors, cameras, radars, and satellite communication systems help cars move independently under road safety regulations.

Here’s the list of ADAS automotive systems used in modern cars:

  • Anti-lock braking systems (ABS)
  • Emergency Brake System (EBA)
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
  • Lane Change Assistance
  • Intelligent Speed ​​Adaptation (ISA)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
  • Parking assistance
  • Driver fatigue monitoring system

Insoftex has many years of experience and expertise in developing ADAS software systems. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you would like to know more.


Insoftex is an owner-managed software engineering company based in Eastern Europe (Lviv, Ukraine). Our management team has over 25 years of experience in product development and project delivery. We offer a wide range of software engineering services to small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

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