An aerial image of the UL campus
Monday, 28 November 2022

Researchers at University of Limerick and Lero have found that the installation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems on all cars in Great Britain could reduce car crashes by 24%.

The researchers from Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software at University of Limerick and Motion-S, Luxembourg, also found Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is the most impactful technology, reducing three out of the four most frequent accident categories – intersection (by 28%), rear-end (by 27.7%), and pedestrian accidents (by 28.4%).

The research team believe similar results could be achieved in Ireland.

Based on publicly available road safety reports from Great Britain for 2019, the research team estimates that a full deployment of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) would reduce accident frequency in Britain by 23.8%, representing an annual decrease of 18,925 accidents.

Dr Barry Sheehan of Lero at UL said: “Our research suggests that introducing ADAS across all vehicles would lower the number of road crashes by almost one quarter (23.8%). Furthermore, accidents happening in the two most frequent contexts can be reduced by 29%. That means a reduction of 7,020 accidents on urban roads with clear weather and daylight conditions and 3,472 on rural roads with clear weather and daylight conditions.”

Existing research shows that connected and automated vehicles (CAV) are expected to improve road safety substantially, including reducing accident frequency and severity. According to the American Automobile Association, as of May 2018, 92.7% of new vehicles in the United States have at least one ADAS.

In the UK and the EU, vehicles with ADAS, including Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), are becoming more common. Although these systems provide considerable societal benefits, this research, published by the journal of Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives (TRIP), has revealed their potential impact on accident numbers across various driving contexts.

Lead author Leandro Masello, Data Scientist at Motion-S and PhD Candidate at the Emerging Risk Group, UL, said that although ADAS provides considerable road safety benefits, its performance is often constrained by challenging conditions, like adverse weather.

“The driving environment affects vehicle dynamics and sensor capabilities. A system that suddenly brakes to avoid a crash will perform better in dry weather conditions than in adverse conditions like heavy rain and ice, which reduce tyre traction and can cause the vehicle to skid.

“Similarly, inclement weather also impairs the sensors’ ability to perceive the environment accurately. For example, a snowstorm could obstruct the camera vision system or cover lane boundaries,” added Mr Masello.

Dr German Castignani, co-author and CEO of Motion-S S.A., said road safety reports are a fundamental source of information for the continuous development of the car industry as they help study the distribution of the accidents’ environmental conditions.

“They provide information about the vehicles and casualties involved and the accident circumstances (e.g., geographical, temporal, and road information). Our work leverages such data to estimate the potential reductions in accidents that ADAS can mitigate,” he added.