Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are now appearing on new cars to help prevent accidents. The functionality was pioneered on dash cams by Thinkware in partnership with Ambarella, who provide the chipsets.
For me, the most useful is the lane departure warning. The consequences of falling asleep at the wheel are usually dire, as there won’t be any attempt to avoid whatever obstacle the vehicle encounters.
I was returning from an exhibition in Frankfurt and almost nodded off in broad daylight on a German autobahn. The lane departure warning of my dash can woke me up between lanes only a few meters from a mobile home. I was just looking for a service station at the time, aware that I needed a break.
When integrated into a car they can be too clever, as they can also take control of the steering wheel to bring you back into the lane. To prevent this, you have to indicate before changing lane. I have friends who have drifted out of the lane to overtake a parked car parked half on the pavement and forgotten to indicate, resulting in frantic wrestling with the steering wheel to avoid a collision. I’ll stick to my dash cam warning!
Other features are forward collision warning and forward vehicle departure warning, to spare your blushes at traffic lights if you get distracted.
In general, the alerts help keep you out of trouble and complement the safety camera alerts when your Thinkware camera is equipped with either an integrated or separate GPS antenna.