In the “Autonomous Cars, Robotaxis & Sensors 2022-2042 report, IDTechEx
predicts that SAE level 3 autonomous features, such as traffic jam pilot,
will emerge in 2022 and become common in vehicles by 2042. How did IDTechEx
predict this time scale? The answer lies in the historical adoption trends
of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technologies.
Everyone is familiar with anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control; you
would not have even thought to ask about them when purchasing your last car.
What about cruise control? If you have bought a car within the last 5 years
or so, then chances are it was a standard feature. But what about adaptive
cruise control (ACC), lane keep assist systems (LKAS), and cross traffic
alerts (CTA)? You might have heard of these if you have bought a new car
recently, but they are not yet commonplace. In fact, there are quite a few
new and emerging technologies that fall under the ADAS umbrella that are not
IDTechEx specializes in predicting new and emerging markets, and to
understand the adoption of these new technologies, we took a backward look
at the adoption of the current technologies that you (probably) take for
Using 4,000 historic car brochures spanning the past 60 years as a basis,
IDTechEx found adoption curves for systems including adaptive cruise
control, automatic emergency braking, reverse cameras, cross traffic alerts
and lane keep assistance systems, which can be seen in the figure.
The progression of ADAS feature adoption over the last 20+ years. The
features shown here are adaptive cruise control (Adaptive CC), automatic
emergency braking (AEB), reverse camera, cross traffic alert (CTA) and lane
keep assistance system (LKAS) Source: IDTechEx Research.
The IDTechEx analysis shows that it typically takes 15-20 years from market
entry to wide adoption within the car market. While the result to some
extent influences our autonomous vehicle forecast present in “Autonomous
Cars, Robotaxis & Sensors 2022-2042 report, it does have limitations. For
example, it cannot tell us whether the technology is included as a standard
feature, or as an option.
To address this, IDTechEx has further analyzed 88 brochures from the
best-selling cars in the US, Europe, China, and Japan, from automakers
including Ford, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and Toyota. These 88 cars represent
22% of all vehicles sold in 2020.
From this analysis IDTechEx saw that of current ADAS technologies for level
2 autonomy, adaptive cruise control is the widest adopted, with over 60% of
vehicles sold with it as standard. Meanwhile, lane keep assistance systems
(LKAS) is the least adopted with nearly one-quarter of vehicles not even
having it as an option.
The percentage of today’s cars which come with autonomous emergency braking
(AEB), adaptive cruise control (ACC), cross traffic alert (CTA) and lane
keep assist system (LKAS) as either standard, an option or not available
(N/A). Source: IDTechEx Research.
So, while it can be seen that adaptive cruise control was the first of these
technologies to emerge in approximately 2002, it is now towards the end of
its 15-20 year cycle and is becoming a fairly common technology. On the
other hand, lane keep assistance systems, cross traffic alert and automatic
emergency braking started to emerge between 2010 and 2016 and are therefore
much earlier in their cycles.
There are many factors controlling the adoption of these new technologies,
does it bring a safety benefit? Can it be done cheaply? Are the sensors
required mature enough? Does it bring a significantly better driving
It is expected that safety technologies will be adopted faster as they will
be encouraged and mandated by safety bodies. This explains why automatic
emergency braking is reaching higher levels of adoption more quickly than
cross traffic alert and lane keep assist. It also goes to show why there is
a 5 year window in the adoption period (15 – 20 years) as each technology
brings different safety and comfort benefits (and so will have a different
Sometimes a technology can emerge and not be utilized or be superseded by a
new technology. A good example of this is the vehicle’s braking system.
First, there were drum brakes, which worked poorly at best. Then disc brakes
emerged, which are now the norm. Following the additional stopping power
that disc brakes came with, there was the emergence of anti-lock braking
systems or ABS, which again is now common.
Right now, automatic emergency braking (AEB) is an emerging technology.
IDTechEx’s research indicates that ~40% of vehicles are fitted with AEB as
standard, while it is an option on ~50% of vehicles. The Euro NCAP safety
certification body are planning to make AEB compulsory in 2022, so will AEB
be the next ABS, something that we may take for granted in the near future.
Some of these technologies such as LKAS and ACC can make driving a little
more relaxing, some, such as CTA and AEB can make driving a little safer,
but all of these technologies will take 15-20 years from emergence to become