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An Introduction to: A Camera Based Driver Assistance System

Whether you’ve been driving for a week or decades, there’s one thing you can count on: the evolution of safety systems within cars. These features come from humble beginnings, from the introduction of mere windscreens to inertia-reel seat belt systems, to laminated glass and airbags, every innovation, feature, and design makes a vehicle a safer place to be. These days, the most modern safety features come in the form of a camera based driver assistance system.

Safety As Standard

Many of the cars coming through your garage doors come with a manufacturer fitted camera based driver assistance system. You can often tell if a car has one fitted purely by looking at the area below the rear view mirror – when viewed from the outside, this plastic housing often has multiple projections with cameras or sensors pointing to the front of the vehicle.

What Does A Camera Based Driver Assistance System Do?

There’s a clue in the name! These driver aides act like a co-driver, assisting with certain aspects of driving, enabling you to focus on the road ahead. Camera based driver assistance systems often feature:

  • Pre-collision assist: where the camera detects imminent threats such as a car that is stopped, for example, in a traffic queue, or a vehicle that has pulled in front of you. When the assistance system detects an imminent collision, it will apply the brakes and alert you with audio and visual alarms.
  • Lane-keep assist: this is useful for roads with multiple carriageways and prevents you from deviating out of your lane. The system detects the lines at the side and/or middle of the road or lane and gently adjusts the steering wheel to keep you within them. Some vehicles offer feedback in the form of vibration in the steering wheel to alert you to the correction it has had to apply.
  • Speed limiter: these systems read road signs and automatically apply and adjust the speed limiter accordingly. This is useful for situations where varying road speeds (for example in heavier traffic) render the use of a cruise control to be unsuitable, as a conventional fixed speed limiter would need to be adjusted and cancelled constantly to compensate for the variations in speed.
  • Adaptive cruise control: this works much like a conventional cruise control; in that it holds the vehicle speed for you. However, the camera based driver assistance system will also read the road ahead and adjust the cruise speed automatically, for example if you start to approach a slower moving vehicle in front, or if it detects a speed limit change.


Using advanced cameras and computer technology, the camera based driver assistance systems constantly scan the road ahead and areas around the vehicle, looking for hazards, road markings, road signs, etc. Some systems work in conjunction with LiDAR and RADAR systems which also scan the road ahead.

Are They Fool-proof?

Unfortunately, like all technology, these systems are never without fault or issue. Speed limiters, for example, may mistake an emblem on the rear of a passenger coach for a road sign (eg, a rosette celebrating 50 years of service) and slam the brakes on while you’re cruising down the motorway.  Similarly, they can read the speed limit sign on a motorway roundabout and keep the brakes applied while you’re attempting to gather speed on the slip road. Knowing where the cancel button is located is crucial before using these systems!

A lane keep assist system may read the solid white lines at the side of a winding road and attempt to keep you stuck on them like glue.  However, your road speed may dictate that you take a smoother line through the corners. Having the camera based driver assistance system essentially yank on your steering wheel can be a little unnerving, so it’s best to only use these systems on straighter roads such as motorways and dual carriageways.

Pre-collision assist systems can also be imperfect; in some instances brakes have been known to be slammed on when a vehicle in front turns into a side road from the main road; the camera based driver assistance system interprets this as an obstruction and takes counter measures to avoid the collision.

The lesson here, is that you can’t fully rely on these systems.  They will never take over the driving for you and you must never allow your concentration to lapse. You must remain alert and aware of your surroundings even with your camera based driver assistance systems engaged.  

Furthermore, these systems can sometimes require re-calibrating, to ensure that they are pointing in the correct direction relative to the limits and position of the vehicle. Doing this ensures accurate interpretation of the road conditions and facilitates effective assistance.

Circumstances that may cause your camera based driver assistance system to require calibration include:

  • Following a crash or collision (which may have dislodged the camera)
  • If the windscreen or car bodywork (e.g. bumper) has been replaced
  • If certain suspension components have been adjusted or replaced
  • After wheel alignment has been carried out
  • If the tyres have been changed to a different size
  • If there is a warning in the instrument panel regarding the ADAS system

How To Calibrate a Camera Based Driver Assistance System

There is no easy way to calibrate a camera based driver assistance system. If you’re operating a vehicle maintenance and repair garage, and want to offer the most up-to-date service, you need ADAS calibration equipment such as the Brainbee Digital ADAS System.

This particular system allows you to quickly and easily calibrate elements of the ADAS system (such as wheel alignment) on all of your customers’ cars with absolute, repeatable precision. It features an intuitive handheld display and control module which is used to obtain the correct settings for the make and model of the vehicle as well as helpfully guide you through the calibration processes.

High Tech, Low Maintenance

Thanks to the addition of camera based driver systems to nearly all new cars built after 2020, the roads in the UK have never been safer. These systems allow the driver to concentrate on the road ahead, and even relax a little too – acting like a co-pilot, keeping their eyes open and making sure you’re eliminating or reducing the number of hazards that may affect your journey. This being said, these systems are not infallible and need to be looked after. To ensure you’re able to meet the demands of the next generation of driver, make sure your garage has the latest ADAS calibration equipment in its workshop- enquire today to find out how.

Offering an extensive range of laser, CCD & 3D aligners Supalign is a one stop shop for wheel alignment requirements.