Welcome to the world of automotive acronyms! The industry has progressed to what used to be straightforward and easily understood wording to the world of deep espionage as convoluted as our own security organizations. You know NSA, FBI, CIA, DEP, EPA, etc. In the industry, we live with MAF, MAP, TPS, TPMS, STFT, LTFT, ECM, BCM, EBCM and the list goes on. I’m sure that these acronyms have appeared in conversations or on repair invoices and while some folks question them; most do not.
Me, I’m all about spelling it all out and using the full names of these sensors. In today’s rush for all-electric and autonomous vehicles to roam the highways of the land, the alphabet soup will just get even more jumbled.
Just so you know anytime you see an article about an electric vehicle it soon becomes an EV and when they talk about the demise of the internal combustion engine it will be called ICE. Autonomous refers to a self-driving vehicle like the new Domino’s Pizza delivery vehicle. They are out there and functioning, just not quite perfected yet. Believe me, I will be hard-pressed to step inside an UBER that has no driver.
ADAS which stands for ADVANCED DRIVER ASSISTANCE SYSTEM, is already here and in the bridge to autonomy. First and foremost, you must understand that there are two distinct types of ADAS, passive and active. Passive ADAS has sensors that will see if the vehicle is drifting in or out of its lane or encroaching upon a vehicle in front of you and alert you, the driver, that things are not as they should be and send you warning signals. These signals are lights on your dash that turn from green to yellow to red, or vibrations in your seat on either the left or right side depending on which side of the lane you are on.
Active ADAS will do the same but at the same time will take corrective action as it seems fit. The first type of active ADAS was dubbed as Intelligent Cruise Control. If you were gaining on the vehicle in front of you while driving with the cruise control on, the intelligent cruise control would slow you down as to keep a safe distance between you without disabling the cruise control system. We all know what a bother it was to have to hit the brakes and then actually reset the cruise control. By the way, it is no longer called Intelligent Cruise Control but has been renamed Adaptive Cruise Control. I guess that people didn’t want to appear as Un-Intelligent. The upside of this is that using the very same technology in reverse became COLLISION AVOIDANCE.
Think about every car commercial that you see on television, think about a mom looking at her child in the back seat and the fool texting and walking in front of the car and it magically stops. The texting fool doesn’t even lookup. In my very humble opinion if more fools got hit the world would be less foolish.
In some vehicles, high beams will turn on automatically when the level of darkness reached a point. I always thought that that little lever on the right side of the column was really easy to do that same thing. Now the new rage is active adaptive headlights that turn with the curves of the road always keeping the headlights where they were supposed to be on the road. What seems to have been forgotten was in the mid-1940s a young engineer named Tucker designed and built a car that did just that.
I write this article with tongue in cheek, I love technology, it can be fascinating but, it has to work with the loose nut behind the wheel not against him or her. Next week I will be a little less cynical and more informative.