Feasibility, costs and benefits of retrofitting ADAS to improve road safety

In order to decrease road fatalities, the European Parliament has made several ADAS mandatory in new models from June 2022 onward. Through retrofitting, the uptake of these ADAS in the vehicle fleet could be improved. VTT and Ecorys have studied the feasibility, costs and benefits of retrofitting ADAS.

Road fatalities have decreased substantially during the last decades, but in the last few years, the reduction rate has been slower than required to achieve the EU’s road safety targets. ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) have assisted in the reduction of these accidents. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU have adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/2144 that will make several ADAS mandatory. The first wave of these systems will be mandatory in new vehicle models from June 2022 and in all new vehicles from June 2024.


VTT and Ecorys have studied the feasibility, costs and benefits of retrofitting ADAS.
Photo: Katja Kircher/VTI

As the average age of road vehicles in the Europe is over 10 years, it will take approximately 10 years before most of the fleet is equipped with these assistance systems. The deployment of retrofit ADAS devices could potentially speed up the uptake of these functions. The main objective of the study, performed by VTT and Ecorys, was to assess the technical feasibility, costs and benefits, of retrofit ADAS for existing vehicles.

Selection of retrofit ADAS to be included

The study addressed the following retrofit versions of ADAS, which will become mandatory in the coming years:

  • FCW – Forward collsion warning, both VEH (vehicles) and PCD (pedestrians and cyclists).
  • LDW – Lane Departure Warning
  • SLI – Speed limit information
  • DDR-ADR – Advanced driver distraction warning
  • REV – Reversing detection
  • TPM – Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • VIS-DET – Detection and warning av pedestrians and cyclists nearby the front or side of the vehicle
  • 112 eCall

The study addressed only ADAS which warn the drivers, due to liability issues. Vehicle manufacturers are also reluctant to provide access to in-vehicle data, and not all data, which is required by retrofit ADAS, such as turn indicator signal, is available from standard in-vehicle interfaces. Retrofit ADAS manufacturers have found solutions to overcome this issue by identifying the needed data on the in-vehicle network and listening to the data traffic on the in-vehicle network. In this study the professional installation of the retrofit devices was recommended in order to assure that the ADAS have the optimal performance, comparable to factory fit ADAS using the same technology.

Retrofit ADAS has potential to reduce injury accidents and fatalities

The safety effects of different ADAS in terms of the number of potentially prevented road fatalities and injury accidents were estimated and quantified based on literature study and accident statistics. The bundle consisting of FCW, SLI and LDW was estimated to reduce road fatalities by 12.9−27.2% and injury accidents by 8.4−23.4% at 100% penetration, against the baseline in which 0% of vehicles are fitted with these ADAS. For the different policy options, this results in a reduction of fatalities of 1.2−2.6% for the voluntary measures and of 2.4−5.2% for the mandatory measures.

Cost-benefit analysis

The analysis covered both voluntary and mandatory measures. Voluntary measures for promoting the uptake of retrofit ADAS included awareness raising measures, subsidies and other financial incentives and public procurement requirements. Only few local mandatory measures are currently in place in Europe for retrofit ADAS, such as urban vehicle access regulations to allow only heavy vehicles equipped with VIS-DET.

Cost-Benefit assessment (CBA) was performed using two different sets of policy measures: i) a (voluntary) policy measures including financial incentives and awareness campaign, and ii) a mandatory deployment of retrofit ADAS during a period of 2 years. Starting from the development of the vehicle fleet and estimates regarding the penetration rates of factory-fitted systems, estimates were made for the deployment of retrofit ADAS. Different sensitivity analyses were performed to verify the robustness of the CBA results.

The CBA was performed for the evaluation period 2026−2041. Estimates for the costs on purchase, maintenance, inspection, repair and campaign costs, were based on literature study and expert assessment. The best result was obtained for VIS-DET (Detection and warning of pedestrians and cyclists nearby the front or side of the vehicle), which offers a positive Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) for both policy options for buses: for voluntary measures the range was 1.5−5 and 2.2−7.1 for mandatory measures. The main reason for this is that the fleet is relatively small compared to the other vehicle classes and this vehicle category is involved in a relatively large number of collisions. This implies that retrofitting VIS-DET in buses was considered to be cost-effective.

The study was ordered by the European Commission and performed by VTT and ECORYS. The complete report is available at https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/72659808-7ec1-11ea-aea8-01aa75ed71a1

For more information: Johan Scholliers, Mikko Tarkiainen & Anne Silla.

Johan Scholliers
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., Finland



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