Are You Ready to Repair ADAS-equipped Vehicles?

You’ve probably already seen vehicle features like adaptive cruise control, parking assist sensors and blind spot indicators in your auto repair shop. All of these technologies (and many more) fall into the new category of vehicle systems known as ADAS — Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. If you haven’t encountered ADAS yet, you will soon as the latest generation of vehicles makes its way into the aftermarket for service and repair.

ADAS is a complex system of cameras, radar systems, sensors and control modules. The control modules use a variety of technologies to help interpret the signals received to deliver ADAS features. In addition to the more “common” components like those mentioned above, you might also see more “unusual” ones like a yaw/acceleration sensor, pedestrian impact detection sensor or forward looking radar module. Many of the components are precisely calibrated to ensure the control modules are interpreting the proper information. And it’s easier than you might think for them to go “out of calibration.”

Impact of ADAS

ADAS is impacting even common jobs that you may have in your bays right now. For example, consider the wheel alignment, usually a pretty straightforward job, right? Well, maybe not always any more. On most vehicles equipped with ADAS features, calibrations will need to be performed after that alignment. Let’s say that a 2016 Audi A8 Quattro equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Change Assist System comes to your shop needing a four-wheel alignment and adjustment of the rear thrust angle. The ADAS features on this vehicle add 2.2 hours of labor time for calibration to the 1.8 hours already assumed for the alignment.

Calibration routines can vary widely by manufacturer. Some are as easy as printing targets on your own printer and placing them in areas in the shop. Others require targets attached to fixed mounts on an aligner or stand-alone frame with specific level floor specs to ensure the calibration will be accurate. One of the challenges is having enough space in the bay to accommodate these calibrations.

Several feet of unobstructed space are needed around the vehicle: in front, behind and to the sides. Any object in this space could cause an inaccurate or incomplete calibration. For instance, almost 40 feet from the back bumper to the front camera target is needed to do a front camera calibration on a Honda Odyssey.

What happens if the calibrations are not done correctly? There likely will be no indication – no MIL illuminated, etc. But while the vehicle is driving, the “field of view” can be slightly shifted. With even a 2 degree alteration on a forward-facing radar module, the focus at 60 feet ahead of the car won’t even be in the car’s same lane. That can lead to potentially deadly consequences from unanticipated behaviors of the adaptive cruise, pedestrian detection and other features.

ADAS Repair Information

Having an auto repair information resource that consolidates all the information related to the ADAS features on a vehicle can help technicians understand, diagnose and repair these complex systems.

For example, ProDemand, the auto repair information software from Mitchell 1, streamlines the search process and delivers all the ADAS information together in a single location. So, techs have a full picture of all ADAS features and the specific components contributing to the operation of those ADAS features. ProDemand also lets techs know at a glance if the components associated with the ADAS feature will require calibration, special tools like targets, or a scan tool to complete the job.

Whatever repair information resources you use in your shop, ADAS-equipped vehicles are coming. Are you ready?

Learn more about Mitchell 1 and ProDemand and get a free demo.