Automated and connected vehicle safety: what you need to know

The Government of Canada is committed to the safe testing and deployment of automated and connected vehicles, and to educating Canadians on driver assistance technologies. Learn about how these technologies can help you avoid collisions, and how to use them safely.

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Current driver assistance technologies

Many vehicles have features to help you avoid a collision, or lessen its impact. They are called advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). These technologies are paving the way for vehicles with higher levels of automation.

ADAS technologies include:

  • lane keeping assistance or departure warnings
  • automatic emergency braking
  • blind spot monitoring

Even if your vehicle is equipped with driver assistance technology, you must stay alert and engaged in the driving task at all times.

The table below has information about what ADAS systems can offer, along with their limitations. You may also be interested in learning about levels of vehicle automation that are currently available in today's vehicles.

Forward collision prevention technologies

Type of feature

What it does

Limitations

Automatic emergency braking

Also known as:

  • Forward collision mitigation system
  • Pre-crash warning and braking system
  • Intelligent braking

Uses sensors to track cars in front of it. Automatically brakes if there is a stopped vehicle, preventing a crash.

May not always prevent a rear end collision, but may lessen the severity. Once the vehicle comes to a complete stop, it will continue moving slowly even if the object is still in front of it. When the car brakes, the driver must put their foot on the brake to prevent the car from moving forward.

Forward collision warning

Forward collision warning

Also known as:

  • Pre-crash system
  • Forward crash warning
  • Collision mitigating system
  • Collision avoidance system
  • Rear-end crash avoidance system
  • Automotive collision avoidance system

Alerts you of danger up ahead so you can brake or turn in time.

These systems do not brake for you.

Adaptive cruise control

Adaptive cruise control

Also known as:

  • Automatic cruise control
  • Active cruise control
  • Cooperative adaptive cruise control
  • Intelligent cruise control
  • Radar cruise control

Keeps a set speed and constant distance between your vehicle and the car in front. May offer some braking.

Car may only brake to a certain degree. It may not stop entirely, even if another car is stopped in front.

Lane and side assistance technologies

Feature

What it does

Limitations

Lane departure warning

Lane departure warning

Also known as a lane departure system

Alerts you if your vehicle drives outside the correct lane, so long as the lines are visible on both sides of the road.

System may not work properly if the lines are covered or faded.

Lane keeping assistance

Lane keeping assistance

Also known as a lane keeping assistant

Steers vehicle back into correct lane if the car begins to drift.

System may not work properly if lines on the road are faint or covered.

Blind spot monitoring

Obstacle-warning-system,-side-rear

Also known as:

  • Passive blind spot monitoring
  • Blind spot information system
  • Blind spot assist
  • Side blind-zone alert

Alerts you to vehicles in your blind spot.

System may not detect motorcycles or very fast cars.

Tips for the safe use of driver assistance technologies

Know your vehicle. Get familiar with features specific to your vehicle. Be aware of what these features can and can't do before you use them on public roads. Knowing this will help prevent collisions or fatalities.

Know your system. Manufacturers do not always use standard terms when they communicate ADAS features to you. This means vehicle features may have the same name, but be different in how they perform. Always know your vehicle's capabilities before you drive.

Know your vehicle feature's limitations. Driver assistance technologies still require you to take over in certain driving conditions. ADAS features may only work in specific conditions (for example, when lanes are visible, traffic lights are working properly, and when road markings are clear). You need to stay alert at all times when you drive.

For more information about a specific vehicle's features, check with:

  • the vehicle owner's manual
  • the electronic owner's manual built into some cars' infotainment systems
  • the dealer or seller, if you purchased the vehicle
  • the rental company, if you rented it
  • the manufacturer
  • our automated and connected vehicle safety content

Resources for automated and connected vehicle safety in Canada

Canada's Safety Framework for Automated and Connected Vehicles

In Canada, different levels of government share the responsibility of supporting safe motor vehicle transportation.

Canada's Safety Framework for Automated and Connected Vehicles [PDF, 7.2 MB] outlines a clear policy vision for how Transport Canada will work with provinces and territories, industry and others to support the safe testing and deployment of automated and connected vehicles on public roads.

Tools and resources to support this framework

Together with jurisdictions and stakeholders, we have also developed tools and resources to support this framework. They include:

Testing Highly Automated Vehicles in Canada: Guidelines for Trial Organizations (June 2018)

This guide will help ensure trials are done safely, securely and consistently. It clarifies the roles and responsibilities of each level of government in facilitating these tests. It also promotes Canada as a leading destination for research and development of automated vehicles.

Canadian Jurisdictional Guidelines for the Safe Testing and Deployment of Highly Automated Vehicles [PDF, 4.25 MB] (October 2018)

The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) worked with Transport Canada and provincial/territorial road transportation officials to develop these guidelines. The document:

  • Advances a consistent approach to automated and connected vehicle policy across jurisdictions (federal, provincial/territorial and municipal/local)
  • Advises on policy, regulatory and administrative issues jurisdictions may need to consider as they support these technologies

Safety Assessment for Automated Driving Systems in Canada [PDF, 6.2 MB] (February 2019)

Transport Canada developed this voluntary policy tool to help developers review the safety of new automated vehicles they intend to manufacture, import, operate and/or sell in Canada. It addresses safety issues not covered under current regulations. The document is closely aligned with similar policies and guidance from other countries, including the United States.

Research projects

Transport Canada also conducts various research projects to inform the development of future policies and regulations for automated and connected vehicle technologies.

Learn about specific research underway in Canada

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