How Will ADAS Systems Affect Aftermarket Service?

Jul 28, 2019

Automotive technology has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Advanced Safety Packages on modern cars typically include many advanced features. Proximity sensors are used to tell how close a given object is, and blind spot monitoring helps drivers avoid collisions. These features really make you feel like you’re living in the future, mainly because they aren’t only included in high-end cars any more.

These features are all part of the Advanced Driver Assistance System, the acronym for which is ADAS. This system makes decisions much faster than a human is able to. Even in situations where a collision is unavoidable, the system can reduce the severity of damage by braking 1.5 seconds sooner than a human could.

Early ADAS, such as back-up cameras and lane departure warnings have been around for a long time. The earliest systems were implemented at least 15 years ago, giving the aftermarket service industry time to adapt to the technology. Though advancements have been made in aftermarket repair abilities, some systems still present unique challenges. LIDAR, RADAR, and infrared systems present the most challenges to aftermarket servicers.

Types of Challenges Presented

One of the main challenges is the aiming and calibration of these sensors during service. The equipment to do this is expensive, and is not always accessible to small shops. Additionally, some of these vehicles require more floor space during service, upwards of 1,000 square feet in some cases. Some shops have refused to upgrade their equipment and training, reminiscent of the change to computer-controlled engines 40 years ago.

Some shops don’t specialize in ADAS, but also don’t want to turn away customers. These shops rely on the service information provided by the manufacturer, but may still lack the floor space to calibrate sensitive equipment. Making a mistake during calibration can be the difference between a sensor detecting a car, or braking at the wrong time and causing an accident.

Though these shops have not specifically decided not to service cars with ADAS tech in them, it’s unavoidable sometimes. Even in lower-end modern cars, there are sensors located behind and around the windshield, sensors behind grills blocking critical parts, and sensors inside of tires to detect air pressure. Disturbing these sensors can cause their calibration to be thrown off, and they must be re-calibrated to factory specs.

What Can You do About it?

ADAS is here, and there’s more where it came from. Technology will continue to grow and adapt, and independent shops will soon have to decide one way or the other. Smaller shops have adapted by working together and referring customers to partner shops that do have space and equipment to properly calibrate these systems.

The pros of ADAS far outweigh the cons. If you’re a repair shop, the best thing to do is document every step you take during the repair or service of these systems and check with your business liability policy to make sure you’re covered. ADAS is the future, and capitalizing on the future is the best thing to do for your business.

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