Expert: Precise calibration of ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems) needed after vehicle collisions

Even post-collision repair work like welding or painting can dislodge sensitive cameras & radar sensors, advises veteran automotive technician Janet Bigelow of Advanced ADAS Calibration Centers.

KEYPORT, N.J. (11/18/19)––High-tech auto safety systems must be precisely recalibrated after vehicular collisions, and yet some drivers, insurers and body shop owners are unaware of this critical need, advises a veteran auto technician at Advanced ADAS Calibration Centers (AACC).

“Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are improving the safety of U.S. roads, but it’s important to understand that they are incredibly sensitive and must be carefully scrutinized post-collision,” said Janet Bigelow of AACC, the first dedicated center in New Jersey for the maintenance, repair and calibration of ADAS for all makes and models.

On a daily basis, Bigelow said, the technicians at Advanced see vehicles in which cameras, radars and other sensors have been thrown off balance by collisions. Given that these systems are designed to help drivers stay in their lanes, avoid roadway obstacles and monitor their blind spots, it is important that they function perfectly, Bigelow notes. “It doesn’t have to be a severe, high-impact crash on the interstate,” she said. “Even a bumper ‘love tap’ in a crowded parking lot could lead to significant ADAS errors.”

Proper post-collision ADAS calibration should be standard protocol, because it stands to make roadways safer, cut the liability risks faced by collision-repair centers and reduce the total reimbursements paid out by insurers, Bigelow noted. “You want to make sure blind-spot notification, automatic braking and other safety-related systems are working before that vehicle gets back out on the road.”

And yet, in addition to the miscalibrations that can be caused by collisions, even the body-shop work that a car may undergo as part of the repair process after that accident could also lead to ADAS miscalibrations, Bigelow said. “That’s because steps at the collision-repair center like disconnecting the battery, or high-temperature welding or painting of the vehicle can actually disturb cameras and other computerized sensors associated with ADAS,” she explained.

In recognition of the need for high-accuracy calibration, the technicians at Advanced ADAS Calibration Centers, located at 146 Highway 35 in Keyport, focus full-time on ADAS recalibration. (In part because of this high degree of specialization, AACC was the subject of a feature story in the October 2019 issue of Motor Age magazine.)

With 21 factory scan tools, AACC employs I-CAR-trained techs with the tools and training to calibrate ADAS systems such as Subaru EyeSight, Honda LaneWatch and Nissan Around View Monitor. “Our technicians are authorities on calibrating ADAS exactly as specified by major automakers,” Bigelow said.

The work requires an environment controlled to near-laboratory conditions. AACC’s facility has non-reflective paint and walls, strategically placed LED lighting and large, unobstructed spaces in which to maximize the operation and testing of ADAS. “Industry stakeholders are beginning to adjust to the new set of considerations related to these systems,” Bigelow said. “The end result will be better-functioning vehicles and safer roadways for all drivers.”