Four Groups Agree To Safety Tech Terms

Suited driver
Credit: AAA
Four organizations – AAA, Consumer Reports, J.D. Power and the National Safety Council – are joining forces. They want to make driver assist technology terms less confusing for drivers. They’ve adopt standardized naming for advanced driver assistance technology in an effort to reduce confusion. To help educate consumers on the benefits, limitations and proper use of these technologies, the four organizations are calling on all safety organizations, automakers and journalists covering the automotive industry to join them in adopting these terms.

Automotive technology continues to evolve quickly with 93% of new vehicles offering at least one advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) feature. Earlier this year, AAA says its research found that consumers are faced with as many as 20 names for a single safety feature, varying by vehicle manufacturer. The organization says this can cause confusion. While the technology has the potential to improve safety and save lives, the terminology often seems to prioritize marketing over clarity.

As a result, the four organizations have agreed on standardized naming that is simple, specific and based on system functionality. It is believed that, by adopting common terminology across systems, consumers will have a better understanding that this technology is intended to assist and not replace an engaged driver.

These terms are not meant to replace automotive manufacturers’ proprietary system or package names; rather, they are meant to achieve clearer and consistent information on window stickers, owner’s manuals and other marketing materials on generic system components.

At this time, five categories have been created to group technology by type.


  • Adaptive Cruise Control
    • Assists with acceleration and/or braking to maintain a prescribed distance between it and a vehicle in front. Some systems can come to a stop and continue.

  • Active Driving Assistance
    • Assists with vehicle acceleration, braking and steering. 1 Some systems are limited to specific driving conditions. Driver is responsible for primary task of driving.

  • Lane Keeping Assistance
    • Assists with steering to maintain vehicle within driving lane.


  • Blind Spot Warning
    • Detects vehicles to rear in adjacent lanes while driving and alerts the driver to their presence.

  • Forward Collision Warning
    • Detects impending collision while traveling forward and alerts driver. Some systems include pedestrian or other object detection.

  • Lane Departure Warning
    • Monitors vehicle’s position within driving lane and alerts driver as the vehicle approaches or crosses lane markers.

  • Parking Obstruction Warning
    • Detects obstructions near vehicle during parking maneuvers.

  • Rear Cross Traffic Warning
    • Detects vehicles approaching from the side and rear of vehicle while traveling in reverse and alerts driver.


  • Automatic Emergency Braking
    • Detects potential collision while traveling forward, provides forward collision warning and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or lessen the severity of impact. Some systems include pedestrian or other object detection.

  • Automatic Emergency Steering
    • Detects potential collision and automatically controls steering to avoid or lessen the severity of impact. Some systems include pedestrian or other object detection.

  • Rear Automatic Braking
    • Detects potential collision while traveling in reverse and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or lessen the severity of impact. Some systems include pedestrian or other object detection.


  • Active Parking Assistance
    • Controls steering and potentially other functions during parking. Driver may be responsible for acceleration, braking and gear position. Some systems are capable of parallel and/or perpendicular parking.

  • Remote Parking
    • Parks vehicle without driver being physically present inside the vehicle. Automatically controls acceleration, braking, steering and shifting.


  • Automatic High Beams
    • Switches between high and low beam headlamps automatically based on lighting, surroundings and traffic.

  • Backup Camera
    • Provides view behind vehicle when in reverse. Could include trailer assistance, a system that assists drivers during backing maneuvers with a trailer attached.

  • Driver Monitoring
    • Monitors drivers to determine if they are actively engaged in the task of driving. Some systems monitor driver’s eye movement and head position.

  • Head-Up Display
    • Projects image of vehicle data and/or navigational info into the driver’s forward line of sight.

  • Night Vision
    • Aids driver vision at night by projecting enhanced images on instrument cluster or head-up display.

  • Surround-View Camera
    • Uses cameras located around vehicle to present view of surroundings.

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