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What Are ADAS Sensors?

Posted by Chief Technology on Jul 9, 2020 3:26:00 PM

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Let's start at the beginning. ADAS stands for advanced driver assistance systems. Some people refer to them simply as driver assistance systems. These are the high-tech safety features that most drivers have come to expect in their new vehicles. Some examples include lane departure warning, emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, front collision warning, adaptive cruise control, self-parking and more.

Each of these systems relies on sensors in the vehicle in order to watch what’s going on around them. There are four common types of sensors: radar units, cameras, ultrasonic transmitters and steering angle sensors. Some driver assistance systems rely on multiple sensors, while others need just one to function properly.

Radar sensors are typically used in ADAS features that involve calculating distance. Most often you’ll find radar sensors mounted in or behind the front bumper or grille, in the side view mirrors and sometimes in the rear bumper. The radar sends out a high-frequency radio signal. If it reflects off an object and returns to the sensor, the sensor can use that information to calculate the distance between the vehicle and the object. This can help alert drivers to other cars, pedestrians or obstructions in the road.

For safety features that require more information than a simple radar signal can provide, you need a high-definition camera sensor with advanced data processing. Most of these camera sensors can be found inside a windshield, on the back of the vehicle or integrated with the rearview mirror. Other camera types provide a 360-degree view of a vehicle in its environment with multiple lower-resolution cameras placed around the vehicle, all designed to work together. Whatever kind of camera gets disrupted, they all need to be calibrated in order to function properly.

Ultrasonic transmitters.
If you thought self-parking systems would rely on cameras, think again. Parking assist features typically use ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers where they can reflect high frequency sound waves off of objects or people in close proximity to the vehicle. It’s pretty similar to radars. One difference is that most ultrasonic transmitters used in ADAS don’t need to be calibrated. However, if an aftermarket body part is used for a repair, it might interfere with the sensors and keep them from working properly. It’s always best to run a diagnostic scan to see if a sensor requires calibration.

Steering angle sensors.
For ADAS features involved with measuring the degree of steering wheel rotation, you need steering angle sensors. Those features include lane departure warning, adaptive headlights that follow steering, electronic stability control and adaptive suspensions. These kinds of sensors can be found in, you guessed it, the steering column.

The technology that goes into making modern vehicles safe is hyper complex. It’s also changing all the time. If you want to ensure you can properly repair vehicles outfitted with these kinds of sensors, you need an easy-to-use ADAS calibration tool and access to the latest OEM procedures. You can have both with Mosaic ADT from Chief.

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Topics: Shop Tools, ADAS Calibration