AAA: Automotive Industry Must Use Standard Terms for New Vehicle Technology

AAA proposes a list of standard terms and definitions to improve consumer education, safety

A new report from AAA reveals that while today's vehicles have more advanced and automated driving features than ever, these features lack common names and definitions that consumers need to understand how to safely use the technology.

"To combat this problem, AAA is proposing a set of standardized naming and definitions to describe advanced driver systems technology, which will help consumers understand how to use the features in their vehicles," said Michelle Donati, spokesperson for AAA Arizona. "While this new technology is designed to make our lives easier and keep us safer on the roads, that's only true if drivers are using it properly."

AAA's report found that Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as Automatic Emergency Braking or Blind Spot Warning, were available in 92.7 percent of new vehicle models in the United States. Multiple ADAS features are often sold as part of an optional technology bundle, which is becoming more affordable: On average, the cost of an ADAS bundle is approximately $1,950.

AAA examined 2018 model year vehicles to identify the percentage of ADAS technology that comes standard, and found the following three features are the most prevalent:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking – 30.6%
  • Lane Keeping Assistance – 13.9%
  • Adaptive Cruise Control – 11.8%

But the automotive industry is not using standard terms to describe these features and their functions. AAA’s Automotive Engineering team examined 34 vehicle brands sold in the United States to identify the number of unique names manufacturers use to market ADAS, finding that most automakers used different terminology to describe a single ADAS feature:

ADAS Feature Number of Unique Names
Automatic Emergency Braking 40
Adaptive Cruise Control 20
Surround View Camera 20
Lane Keeping Assistance 19
Blind Spot Warning 19
Automatic High Beams 18
Rear Cross Traffic Warning 15
Driver Monitoring 13
Semi-Automated Parking Assist 12
Forward Collision Warning 8
Night Vision and Pedestrian Detection 5

Leveraging the results of this study, AAA looks to create a dialog with the automotive industry, safety organizations and policymakers about the need for common naming for ADAS features in order to educate consumers. A recent survey from AAA found that 40 percent of Americans expected that vehicles with Adaptive Cruise Control — marketed under names like Autopilot, ProPILOT or Pilot Assist — have the ability to drive the car by itself.

"No vehicle available for consumers today has the ability to drive itself," Donati said. "It's these type of misunderstandings that can lead to mistakes on the road."

AAA is proposing terminology that is intended to be simple, specific and based on system functionality. These recommendations could lead to clearer and consistent information provided to consumers on a window sticker, owner’s manual or other marketing materials.

About AAA Arizona
AAA has a proud history of serving Members for over 100 years. AAA is on a mission to create Members for life by unleashing the innovative spirit of 4,000 employees representing nearly 6 million Members across Northern California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. In addition to legendary roadside assistance, AAA offers home, auto and life insurance, and extraordinary travel services. According to Via Magazine's Smart Guide, being a AAA Member can save you more than $1,200 a year. Learn more at