Dr Chris Davies, Head of Technical Superiority, Autoglass
There is little doubt that Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are becoming increasingly popular with the fleet sector.
The introduction of this technology to fleets can prove invaluable for fleet managers and their drivers, reducing the amount and severity of accidents, alerting drivers to oncoming hazards and, most importantly, keeping drivers safe.
In a recent survey conducted by Autoglass, nearly two-thirds (63%) of fleet managers told us that driver safety is the main benefit of introducing ADAS technology to their fleet.
However, not having the technology switched on holds back the safety benefits that ADAS can offer, which is a great cause for concern.
Our research uncovered that a third (33%) of fleet managers believe the biggest challenge when introducing ADAS to their fleet is drivers misunderstanding the use and value of the technology.
This misunderstanding can lead to a lack of appreciation of the benefits of the technology, causing drivers to switch off ADAS-enabled features in their vehicles.
This could include disabling Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) systems, which are there to help ensure drivers are aware of hazards on the roads.
The research revealed that 14% of fleet managers were concerned about drivers turning off the technology rather than maximising the capabilities.
Despite their concerns, only one-fifth (22%) of fleet managers said that it is mandatory for their drivers to use ADAS and not switch it off.
Given the rapid introduction of new technologies to the UK car parc, the focus needs to shift to educating drivers and fleet managers about the benefits of ADAS to ensure that they are switched on and in full effect.
There also needs to be an increased awareness of the importance of accurate ADAS calibration following repair work, to ensure that the technology is functioning correctly and maximising driver safety.
This could also have a positive effect on insurance premiums.
We recently spoke to four of our insurance partners, three of which said that the use of ADAS can lead to a reduction in premiums.
Despite this, none of the UK’s leading insurance companies we spoke with said that the insurance is invalidated if ADAS systems are switched off, so it is clear that more investment is needed to educate drivers about the ADAS-enabled features in their vehicles, and what the benefit of these are.
Overall, the uptake of ADAS across fleets has been much faster than in the UK car parc.
However, the speed of adoption has clearly led to a lack of knowledge amongst some sections of the fleet community on how best to manage these technologies.
It is therefore time for participants from across the automotive industry to step up and work together to ensure that ADAS technology is embraced across the board.
One way that this can happen is the sharing of information about the safety benefits of ADAS at the point of sale.
Our research revealed that 72% of fleet managers received no information on ADAS features when the vehicle was collected from the manufacturer.
The benefits that ADAS can offer fleets is undeniable, however more needs to be done to ensure that drivers are educated and understand the vital role that it can play in keeping them safe on the road.
This will only happen with an industry-wide commitment and investment in ADAS education.