We surveyed 920 Australians 18+ through Pure Profile to find out how many have advanced driver assistance systems in their cars, and how they feel about the future of fully automated cars.

Quick Stats

  • Drivers who have blind spot sensors in their cars were roughly 74% more likely to be in an accident with someone in their blind spot, compared to all respondents
  • Drivers with automatic emergency braking had almost 20% lower rates of rear-ending other cars, compared to all participants (adaptive cruise control also reduced rates)
  • Participants from New South Wales were more comfortable with advanced driver assistance systems than any other state.

Advanced driver assistance systems are accelerating in both sophistication, and applications across cars. From smart windscreen wipers to automated parking, almost every aspect of driving is being influenced by the smartest and latest technologies.

But as these technologies grow, questions start to arise over the future of human drivers. Are we far away from fully autonomous cars, and are we ready for them?

To help understand the impact these systems have on our safety, our perceptions of safety on the road, and our behaviours, we examined the latest industry information, and surveyed 920 Australians (with current driver’s licences, and who own a car) to discover:

1.0 What counts as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?
2.0 Cars on the Market with ADASs
3.0 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Survey Results
4.0 Key Findings

1.0 What counts as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADASs) are defined by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) as systems that “assist drivers with warnings or automatic braking to help avoid or mitigate accidents”. They also list some of the available technology on the Australian market, including:

  • blind spot detection
  • adaptive cruise control
  • following distance warning
  • lane keep assist
  • lane departure warning
  • parking assistance
  • adaptive headlights
  • reversing camera
  • fatigue warning
  • traffic-jam assist

2.0 Cars on the Market with ADASs

A majority of new cars on the market have advanced driver assistance systems installed.

ADASs Available in Australia’s Top 10 Selling Cars[2] 2021

  Blind Spot Detection Standard Cruise Control Adaptive Cruise Control Reversing Camera Automated Parking Assistance Automatic Steering
#1 Toyota HiLux[3]       Some models    
#2 Toyota RAV4[4]            
#3 Mitsubishi Triton[5]            
#4 Ford Ranger[6]            
#5 Toyota Prado[7]            
#6 MG ZS[8]            
#7 Isuzu D-Max[9]            
#8 Maza CX-30[10]            
#9 Hyundai i30[11]            
#10 Mitsubishi Outlander[12]            

Market interests and price points often dictate what features car manufacturers should include in their most marketable models. So it’s little to no surprise that most of the top 10 cars on the market share incredibly similar ADASs.

Interestingly, automated parking assistance (cars that can park themselves) did not feature in the 10 most sold models of 2021. However, plenty of cars featuring this system are available on the market, such as the Volkswagen T-Cross[13] or Peugeot 2008[14].

3.0 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Survey Results

3.1 Almost 50% of Australians surveyed own a car produced after 2014

What year was your car produced?

Australia
State
Age

Remarkably, almost 70% of cars owned by participants in our survey were produced during, or after 2007. This rises to around 87% in New South Wales, or 85% in Victoria.

Younger respondents (aged 18 to 24) had the highest rates of owning older cars, produced during or before 2002. In a lot of cases, this means the car would be older than them.

Participants aged 45 to 54 had the highest rates of owning newer cars, produced from 2019 to current day.

3.2 Most ADASs feature in less than 50% of cars on Australian roads

Which of the following features does your current car have?*

*Participants were able to select all that applied, except for “None of the above” (which was mutually exclusive). Percentages may not add to 100%.

Cruise control was the most common form of driver assistance selected, followed by reversing cameras. Blind spot detection, automatic emergency braking and lane assist (automatic steering) shared similar rates, featuring in over 20% of respondents’ cars.

3.3 Over 50% of participants aged 18-24 had access to ADASs while learning to drive

When you were a learner, which of these features did you use?*

Australia
Age
  Cruise control Reversing camera Reversing sensor Auto steering Auto braking Blind spot sensor Lane alert Park assist Adaptive cruise None of the above
18-24 25.0% 35.7% 17.9% 8.9% 7.1% 12.5% 8.9% 14.3% 8.9% 42.9%
25-34 14.8% 17.6% 12.5% 14.8% 4.0% 5.7% 6.8% 8.5% 5.7% 58.0%
35-44 10.1% 13.1% 8.6% 9.6% 7.1% 8.1% 4.5% 7.1% 5.1% 72.2%
45-54 5.5% 6.2% 2.1% 6.9% 0.7% 2.1% 1.4% 1.4% 0.7% 83.4%
55-64 2.6% 5.8% 2.6% 3.2% 3.2% 3.2% 2.6% 3.2% 0.0% 87.7%
65+ 1.6% 1.1% 1.1% 0.0% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.0% 96.3%

*Participants were able to select all that applied, except for “None of the above” (which was mutually exclusive). Percentages may not add to 100%.

Access to ADASs was quite limited while learning, for participants in our study. Only 23% of all respondents had access to any on our list when they learned to drive.

However, younger generations have been given the opportunity to learn with more technology than their predecessors. Over 57% of respondents aged 18 to 24 learned to drive in a car that had ADASs, compared to just 4% of drivers aged 65 or above.

3.4 Drivers with blind spot detection were 74% more likely to be in an accident with someone in their blind spot, than the average respondent

In your current car, which of these situations have you been in before?*

Australia
Analyses of ADASs
 

% to receive speeding ticket

Variance to all respondents

Drivers with cruise control

30.8% -1.3%

Drivers with adaptive cruise control

31.1% -0.3%

Drivers with no ADASs

35.0% +12.2%
 

% to experience collision off the road

Variance to all respondents

Drivers with lane departure warning

21.2% -15.9%

Drivers with automatic steering

24.1% -4.4%

Drivers with no ADASs

25.6% +1.6%
 

% to experience collision while parking

Variance to all respondents

Drivers with reversing cameras

10.9% -3.5%

Drivers with reversing sensors

11.5% +1.8%

Drivers with automated parking assist

9.6% -15.0%

Drivers with no ADASs

10.6% -6.2%
 

% to rear-end another vehicle

Variance to all respondents

Drivers with automatic steering

9.7% +4.3%

Drivers with cruise control

9.6% +3.2%

Drivers with adaptive cruise control

8.1% -12.9%

Drivers with automatic emergency braking

7.5% -19.4%

Drivers with no ADASs

8.8% -5.4%
 

% to have incident with a car in blind spot

Variance to all respondents

Drivers with blind spot detection

9.2% +73.6%

Drivers with lane departure warning

6.7% +26.4%

Drivers with automatic steering

6.9% +11.3%

Drivers with no ADASs

4.4% -17.0%

*Participants were able to select all that applied, except for “None of the above” (which was mutually exclusive). Percentages may not add to 100%.

Analysing the rates of incidents for drivers with specific ADASs yields phenomenal findings. By a statistically minimal margin, both cruise control and adaptive cruise control seem to share a correlation with reduced speeding tickets among our participants. However, lane departure warnings and automatic steering seemed to indicate drivers had better odds at avoiding collisions with curbs, or items off the road. 

Automated parking systems also correlated to a reduced rate of collisions while parking, indicating the system performs as expected. Similarly, drivers with emergency braking in their car experienced nearly 20% less rear-end crashes than all drivers in our survey.

However, one significant finding was that 5.3% of all respondents had been in an accident with a car in their blind spot. This rose to 9.2% for cars with blind spot detection - meaning rates of accidents through blind spots rose by 74% for cars with blind spot detection. This remarkable finding could show that drivers place too much faith in alerts, and don’t make the required checks to change lanes.

3.5 81% of drivers whose cars were made after 2018 feel their ADASs have helped them avoid road incidents

Do you feel as though your advanced driver assistance systems have ever helped prevent you being in an incident?*

Australia
Car Production
Type of ADAS

**Only respondents who indicated in Q3.2 that their current car has a form of ADAS was served this question. “Type of ADAS” refers to users who confirmed they had that particular system in their car.

The newer a car is, the more likely our respondents were to believe its ADASs had helped them avoid road incidents in the past.

Interestingly, blind spot detection scored as one of the most influential forms of ADAS, with over 85% of respondents with blind spot detection believing it had perhaps, or almost certainly helped them avoid an accident. However, data in Q3.4 show that blind spot detection was associated with respondents that had significantly higher rates of being in collisions with cars in their blind spot. This could further indicate that drivers place a lot of faith in technology, and don’t perform the required checks/looks before merging.

3.6 Younger respondents were more likely to be comfortable in a car with ADASs than older respondents

How comfortable are you being in a car with advanced driver assistance features?

Australia
Age
State

All Respondent Average: 3.57

Australians generally responded as fairly comfortable to being in a car with advanced driver assistance systems. This was significantly higher for younger demographics, where participants aged 18 to 24 averaged 0.38 higher (on a 5-point scale) than respondents aged 65 or above.

3.7 72% of Australian respondents agree that they will never own a fully automated, self-driving car

Do you think you'll ever own a fully automated, self-driving car?

Australia
Age

Younger generations of respondents were more inclined to believe they’ll own an automated car within their lifetime. However, no age bracket had more than 50% of respondents believe they’ll own an automated car one day. This could be due to the technological limitations, or the potential financial barriers of ownership.

3.8 In current road conditions, over 12% of Australian respondents would rather be driven by a legally drunk driver than an automated car

With current cars and drivers on the roads, who would you prefer to have drive you for a 30 minute journey?

Australia
Age
State

Shockingly, almost 20% of participants would choose a driver engaged in illegal and dangerous activity (driving over the limit, driving while distracted, or driving under extreme fatigue) over a self-driving car in current road conditions.

It’s important to note that these conditions are not only illegal and extremely dangerous, but would often void a person’s insurance. They do not represent safe solutions for travel, and should be avoided by any possible means.

Nevertheless, over 15% of Queenslanders would feel more comfortable with a person illegally driving over the blood alcohol limit than a fully automated car.

A trend also emerged where younger participants had higher rates of preferring a distracted driver, whereas older participants had higher rates of opting for the driver over the blood alcohol limit.

These results don’t indicate comfort with any of these transport options, and it shouldn’t be assumed any respondents would ideally use these methods. However, they do represent that in current conditions, comfort and faith in automated cars can draw comparisons with unsafe and illegal driving behaviours.

4.0 Key Findings

Modern cars with ADASs helped our respondents feel safer

Over 75% of respondents who own a car produced in 2015 or later (with ADASs included) felt their advanced driver assistance systems had helped them avoid an accident. However, this rate falls to less than 44% for the owners of cars produced during or before 2002.

Despite how common ADASs are in cars, drivers feel that owning a fully autonomous car is very far away

Barely a quarter of survey participants felt they would own a fully autonomous car within their lifetime. Even within the youngest demographic (those aged 18 to 24), less than half agreed that they would own an autonomous car.

The direct correlation between reduced rates of accidents/incidents, and the ADASs designed to prevent them, were inconsistent

In terms of what shared a correlation with improved road safety - adaptive cruise control and emergency braking showed strong signs that they reduce the rates of drivers rear-ending other cars on the roads. They were associated with reduced rates of rear-end collisions by roughly 13% and 20% respectively.

The impact cruise control and adaptive cruise control had on participants rates of receiving speeding tickets was extremely minimal. This makes sense, given the driver will choose the speed to set, meaning the option to drive faster than the speed limit is still available.

However, blind spot sensors provided a counter-intuitive result. Drivers with blind spot sensors responded as 74% more likely to have been in an accident with a driver in their blind spot than all participants. Similarly, drivers with lane departure warning systems were 26% more likely to have previously been in an accident with a driver in their blind spot than all participants. This indicates that in situations where another car is in a blind spot, current ADASs might be giving drivers a false sense of security, and replacing their need to physically look/check for a gap.