Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
Many modern vehicles are equipped with cameras, radar, LIDAR, and even ultrasound. These devices capture information about the environment and relay it back to control modules that are programmed to watch for specific events. Some assistance systems help you park your car, others warn you when you are drifting out of your lane and some even attempt to stop your vehicle if approaching an object too quickly.
Many ADAS devices don’t require specific calibration. Take most proximity back up “beepers” for example. As long as they are mounted correctly, they’ll beep inside your car even if they are misaligned by a few degrees.
This is not the case for a lot of devices however. Many, especially the ones that face distantly in front of your vehicle, require extreme precision to function reliably. For example, a smart braking system that applies the bakes a little too late when approaching another car quickly because a camera is aligned too low can be the difference between an scare and an accident.
The safety of you and everyone around you always lies with you as the driver. Never rely on “assistance” systems to drive the vehicle for you.
Important Safety Note
Vehicle manufacturers are quite clear that they do not consider these systems as reliable enough to prevent all accidents. They are designed to reduce the likelihood of incidents through warnings and assisted responses, as well as reduce the severity of impacts when they do occur.
Unless you are in a fully autonomous vehicle and have been instructed by the manufacturer to never take control of it’s operation, safety is the responsibility of you as the driver. An assistance system must never be relied on exclusively as there are too many factors that can prevent them from being adequate.