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Increased dependence on technology is a common theme across every sector of every industry. Regardless of the services provided, if someone has a product to sell, fix or otherwise distribute to the public, someone else is working on technology to streamline that process.

As ADAPT Automotive recently reported, the field of ADAS technology is rapidly evolving and is becoming more tightly integrated with automobiles with every passing model year. 

Scott Biggs, CEO of Assured Performance, likened the evolution of technology in vehicles, and specifically ADAS,  more closely to the progression of cell phones than what the development of automobiles has been like in years passed during a recent CIC conference.

“When you have technology that can do a lot of things, there will be innovators…and it will become much more pervasive through everything, but it has to be intuitive,” Biggs says. “If it isn’t intuitive, people won’t use it.”

And that right there, designing technology that is intuitive and has a practical use, seems to be the biggest unforeseen bugaboo for auto manufacturers.

According to research conducted and compiled by the CCC, while around 96 percent of drivers who participated in the survey were at least somewhat familiar with ADAS technologies, 70 percent say they turn off those features in their cars for various reasons at least some of the time. 

“Like any new technology, it isn’t fool-proof,” CCC Industry Analyst Director Susanna Gotsch says.  “It’s a broad umbrella There are a variety of features that are lumped into that overall category (of ADAS), and each OEM actually implements that technology differently. It’s their own secret sauce, so to speak.”

ADAS has existed, in the simplest of definitions, since the 1970s, though it has rapidly evolved and become much more prevalent in the last decade. According to the CCC survey, just under half of respondents were either extremely or very familiar with ADAS, with blind-spot warning, lane departure warning and rearview/surround cameras being some of the most commonly cited systems. 

Per the report, the two most common answers given when asked why a customer purchased an ADAS-equipped vehicle were to keep the customer and his/her family safer and to make their lives easier. 

“There’s an inherent understanding that driving is risky,” Gotsch said, “and the respondents indicated that the primary reasons why they chose to look for a vehicle with ADAS...was to keep their families safe.”

This is where the biggest disconnect in the ADAS industry is cropping up, according to the report–more than half of respondents who own an ADAS-equipped vehicle say they believe certain systems, such as fully automated parking assist and emergency steering, are more likely to cause an accident than to prevent one. 

“We’ve all been trained since Driver’s Ed that we have to be in charge of our vehicle, and now they’re introducing features that tell the consumer ‘no, I’ve got this,’ but they’re not entirely comfortable with that,” Gotsch says. 

Despite that initial hesitation, both Gotsch and the report say as ADAS features become more prevalent, so too will their acceptance. Likening the emergence of the technology to the not-too-distant emergence of the seatbelt in decades passed, the report says that just as it took years and a plethora of campaigns to get people to instinctively reach for their seatbelt, it could take some time for new, valuable ADAS systems to become commonly accepted and used. 

Part of the ADAS adoption process, Gotsch says, comes from the repair community. Consumers that are actively embracing these ADAS technologies want to know that their repair shop has both the equipment and the knowledge to repair ADAS-equipped vehicle.

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