The Future of ADAS is Here. Is Your Shop Ready?

Adas V5 ColorBy now, you’re probably feeling the impact of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) in your shop, but may have taken a “wait and see” approach before investing in new tools to service these vehicles. Like it or not, you’re already in the ADAS business – and the routine work you’re performing now could impact how these systems work. Even common jobs like wheel alignments are no longer simple because critical calibrations must be precisely set for ADAS-equipped vehicles.

First, let’s ground ourselves with what “ADAS” means.  For starters, ADAS is not a single “thing” but rather a suite of cameras, radar systems, sensors and control modules. The technologies are aimed at improving situational awareness for the driver and initiating countermeasures to keep occupants safe. ADAS components can be found in many of today’s cars, including back-up cameras and sensors, automatic parking, adaptive headlights and more.

ADAS countermeasures can be passive – providing a warning or some other form of alert to the driver, or active – where the system can actually take corrective action (think emergency braking).  Making all this work properly requires a suite of cameras, sensors, radar/lidar units placed around the periphery of the vehicle.

As you know, many ADAS-related features have been around for quite some time – mostly on luxury, low-production models. But this fast-growing, transformative technology is quickly becoming a game changer for all players in the automotive industry.  In fact, ADAS will be a common feature for nearly every new vehicle sold in the developed world by 2025,  according to a new study by Roland Berger.

Is this the time to get in the ADAS game?

As vehicles become more complex, so does repairing them!  Once you understand what’s needed, ADAS repairs provide an opportunity to generate additional revenue for your shop, and increase customer safety and loyalty in the process.

Adas 03012019Let’s take a deeper dive into this complex technology, and what you need to know to perform ADAS repairs. Think of it like this: The cameras and radar assemblies on these vehicles are literally the “eyes” of the car placed around the periphery of the vehicle.  For these systems to work properly, they need to have 20/20 eyesight and be looking in the right direction.

To keep things on track, the systems rely on precise calibration in order perform correctly; the vehicle’s computer systems must accurately determine “where” the vehicle is related to other objects around it.  The problem is that these systems are vulnerable because they are installed on the periphery of the vehicle, and oftentimes they have to be moved out of the way during maintenance. Even a slight nudge or shift to a sensor or camera can create havoc if not recalibrated properly.

What happens if the calibrations are not done correctly?

Most likely, there will be no initial indication that a vehicle was not properly calibrated – no MIL illuminated, etc. But while the vehicle is driving, the “field of view” can be slightly shifted and cause safety issues.

Consider something as routine as wheel alignment.  If the thrust line is not aligned with the center line due to miscalibration – even by a 2-degree alteration – the forward -facing camera will be looking in the direction of the thrust line and cause the vehicle to act abnormally. For instance, a camera may “think” an obstruction on the side of the road is an oncoming vehicle, when in reality, it’s just an overpass. The sensors will indicate an imminent collision with an oncoming vehicle, and enact warnings and emergency braking. This miscalculation could potentially lead to catastrophic results.

Therefore, most ADAS-equipped vehicles will require recalibrations after performing an 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 will add 2.2 hours of labor time for calibration to the 1.8 hours already assumed for the alignment.

So how are calibrations performed?

Calibration routines can vary widely by manufacturer, but they fall into two basic categories: Static Calibration and Dynamic Calibration. The OEM will indicate which method should be used, along with the specific parameters required during testing and calibration.

Dynamic Calibration – This procedure uses a hand-held device plugged into the vehicle’s system. The vehicle is driven a specific distance at a specific speed, as specified by the OEM, in order to adapt to regular road conditions. The environment also includes clearly marked road surfaces and roadside obstacles that the camera or radar can “learn” from.

Static Calibration – As the name implies, Static Calibration takes place without having to drive the car, and specialized equipment is used to test each sensor or component inside the shop.  All ADAS tools use a series of targets that the sensors read to accurately recalibrate the vehicle. It is important that the vehicle is placed at specific distances from the targets, at specific heights, etc., as specified by the OEMs. One of the challenges is having enough space in the bay to accommodate these calibrations.

Where can I find ADAS auto repair information?

Having an auto repair information resource that consolidates all ADAS-related 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.

ProDemand® makes it easy to find this information with its Driver Assist (ADAS) Quick Link button, where you can instantly access all the information you need to complete the job. ProDemand also lets techs know at a glance if the components associated with ADAS features will require calibration, special tools like targets, or a scan tool.

Whatever repair information resources you use in your shop, now is the time to get aligned with ADAS auto repair information.  Are you ready?

Learn more about ProDemand with ADAS Quick Information – and book your free demo  – by contacting Mitchell 1 at 888-490-3526 or completing the form at GetMitchell1/ProDemand.