Gustavo A. RodriguezA year ago, Ferrari announced that would invest 4.4 billion euros as part of its strategic plan for the 2022-26 period, aiming to unveil 15 new cars over the next few years, including high-performance cars with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

ADAS are technological features designed to increase the safety of driving, they use a human-machine interface to improve the driver’s ability to react to dangers on the road; the majority of road accidents are caused by human error.

These systems use multiple data inputs to enable safety features, s    as data automotive imaging and high-quality systems of sensors that exceed the capabilities of the human eye, high visibility in difficult weather and real-time data. Existing systems promote active safety by increasing the efficiency on roads, possibly by adding 22.5% capacity on average.

ADAS are categorized into different levels based on the amount of automation, divided into six levels. In level 0, ADAS cannot control the car and can only provide information for the driver to interpret on their own, in level 1 and 2 the driver does most of the decision-making. The difference is that level 1 can take control over one functionality and level 2 can take control over multiple to aid the driver. From level 3 to 5, the amount of control the vehicle has increases with level 5 being a fully autonomous vehicle.

Ferrari ADASFerrari´s CEO Benedetto Vigna has announced that they will continue to use Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in its cars but never deploy so-called Level 5 autonomy features; “We will stop at Level 2 Plus, since no customer is going to spend money for the computer in the car to enjoy the drive, Ferrari will limit the autonomy of its cars to Level 2/Level 2 Plus, in order to preserve all the extraordinary emotions reserved for the driver,”. Their Level 2 Plus ADAS will be capable of controlling the car in certain conditions, but they still require the driver’s full attention.

Ferrari’s customers may have changed over the years. The psychology of a Ferrari client 70 years ago was very different from today, however, one thing that will never change about Ferrari and its clients is that people are fascinated by the product, the brand, and mostly the passion for driving. Ferrari sales increased by 18.5% in 2022; globally selling 13,221 units, in The United States 4,362 units were sold representing a 21.8% increase, in China the sales growth was an astonishing 72.6%.

Targeting inexperienced customers, the Maranello company has filed a patent for a brand-new driving assistant system. The recently published patent application US20230097266A1 claims a “METHOD FOR THE PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRIVER ASSISTANCE OF A ROAD VEHICLE AND RELATED ROAD VEHICLE” which enhances the performances of a driver by suggesting actions that are calculated not only based on the current dynamic of the vehicle, but also based on the future path of the vehicle. The driver can receive “suggestions” on when to accelerate, decelerate, shift gear and on which trajectory to follow based on what the vehicle perceives.

In the United States, the country where most Ferraris are sold in the world, speed limits are much lower than the actual performance offered by a supercar and only a small part of the actual capacities of the car can be used. On the other hand, for an inexperienced driver, high-performance driving on a race track can result in complications since it is completely different from everyday driving, and usually the performance of the car cannot be completely exploited without risk of even going dangerously off the road.

Ferrari states that existing ADAS requires frequent intervention of the electronic driver assistance device, reducing the extent to which high-performance driving can be enjoyed and distracting the driver from the road ahead. Ferrari seeks to increase the safety of the vehicle, as the driver can actively perceive the suggestions delivered by the light and tactile interface system without ever looking away or removing the focus from the road.

While on a racetrack, an inexperienced driver might not be aware of the ideal trajectory to be followed in order to optimize track times. Ferrari claims that its vehicles are capable of actively helping the driver reach performances of a good level through the aid of the interface, so as not to excessively stray away from the optimal trajectory and from a good performance.

As Ferrari ADAS does not take full control of the vehicle and only suggests actions, the driving of their high-performance cars would be more organic, allowing the driver to really get to drive it, with helpful dashboard electronics and data screen information, resulting in a more aggressive, more attentive racetrack driver while increasing the safety of the vehicle.

Written by Gustavo A. Rodriguez


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