Detecting the opportunity: ADAS

The growth in the deployment of ADAS systems on vehicles means garages need to work out how to take advantage of this emerging revenue stream

Published:  20 April, 2018

Vehicles are being equipped with advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) in increasing numbers. It is predicted that by 2020, more than 40% of new vehicles will have at least two types of  ADAS system fitted as standard.

Robin Huish, managing director at Hickleys ltd comments: “This is one of the fastest growing segments in the vehicle diagnostic market. ADAS is now installed as standard  to all makes and models of vehicle from high-end, high-spec vehicles right through to small city cars.”

Like any part of a vehicle, ADAS sometimes requires attention: “Due to wear, damage or failure,  these systems often need to be repaired and calibrated. This is carried out by means of static target boards, alignment lasers and dynamic test drives.

“For this reason garages are now increasingly seeing more demand and are waking up to the opportunity.” Examples of when you would need to carry out ADAS calibration include:

  •  After the replacement of a windscreen
  •  When the vehicle has been involved in an accident and suffered damage to a radar system
  •  When the system is fallen out of calibration
  •  If the calibration has been altered or the measuring devices moved out of calibration
  •  When new components have been replaced and requires calibration

Commenting on the ADAS offering from Hickleys Ltd, Robin says: “We have invested heavily to ensure that we can provide garages with good advice about the options they can take to benefit from the ADAS opportunity.

“Firstly we are able to offer solutions from three manufacturers; Bosch, Texa and our own brand RCCT. Each system has individual features that mean we can tailor the best solution for your garage and customer needs. We have invested in a demonstration vehicle, demonstration equipment and have trained a specialist to give you the very best technical advice, tailored demonstrations and competitive quotation.”

On the overall opportunity, Robin observes: ”ADAS calibration regularly attract charges of £250 per vehicle and the increase in cameras and radar devices installed all around the vehicles create accident damage work and standard repairs. With these revenue opportunities the pay back on ADAS equipment can be rapid.

“It is now possible to get a comprehensive ADAS calibration system complete with diagnostics for as little as £75 per week, that’s potentially one  job per month to cover the lease payments.”

Added complexity
It might provide a new opportunity, but ADAS also adds further complexity from a servicing perspective, according to Paul Beaurain, managing director at Pro-Align:
“The proliferation of ADAS on vehicles and their subsequent servicing and calibration means that
correct wheel alignment is now safety critical, rather than just highly recommended.

“The most important aspect for technicians to understand about ADAS servicing is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to their servicing and calibration. Differences exist between the systems, the manufacturer and vehicle, methodology and hardware requirements.

Static Vs Dynamic
Paul continues: “Calibrating ADAS sensors is a precision process that can be complex and time consuming. Some sensors can be calibrated in the workshop (static), others require that the vehicle is driven on the road (dynamic) and many sensors require both procedures. The time involved can vary massively from as little as just 15 minutes to an hour or more.

“Camera sensors generally require dynamic sensor calibration, whereas radar sensor often require static adjustment followed by dynamic calibration. This varies between vehicles so always check manufacturer instructions. Not only does ADAS servicing require commitment from the workshop from a time perspective, but it also needs to ensure it has the right facilities and tools. Pro-Align has teamed up with TEXA to complement their Hunter wheel alignment systems, offering workshops a comprehensive solution to this challenge which includes scan tools and aiming targets.

“Static (in-workshop) calibrations normally start by establishing the vehicle’s centreline. Next special targets are positioned in precise locations relative to the centreline and sensor. Most target location are 1-10 metres away from the vehicle so adequate workshop space is essential.

“Camera aiming targets, which are usually black and white patterned images, may also be required these are manufacturer specific. Some cars then require the sensor to be mechanically levelled, using a special tool dedicated to that OEM. This procedure requires that the vehicle is on a level surface.

“The final step in static ADAS sensor calibration is to initiate the process using a factory scan tool or aftermarket equivalent. The process occurs automatically and the ECU indicates to the scan tool when the calibration has been successfully and completed.

“Dynamic calibration involves initiating the process with a factory scan tool or aftermarket equivalent, then driving the car on relatively straight roads with clear lane markings for between five and 30 minutes at specified speeds until the scan tool indicates calibration is complete. In some instances, you may need to drive down a road which has lots of signs and other ‘furniture.’“  

Paul adds: “Weather and road conditions can disrupt or prevent this process. Again, you’ll need to check the manufacturer’s instructions.”

Added value
There is more than one way to crack ADAS. Rupert Armitage, managing director at Auto Windscreens observes: “The development in ADAS technology has been rapid and there is a real opportunity to give added value to customers by educating them on these systems and the action needed.

“At Auto Windscreens, we have spent the last two years working with vehicle manufacturers, so that we understand the safety implications of replacing a windscreen fitted with ADAS. It is my personal belief that, before-long, direct partnerships with the vehicle manufacturers themselves will be the only compliant method of recalibration, a method that Auto Windscreens has pioneered and has been officially endorsed by Volkswagen Group, Toyota and Mazda to name but three.”

On the technical and logistical challenges, Rupert comments: “As we head towards fully autonomous vehicles, the ADAS systems are going to become more sophisticated and the technology and knowledge needed to recalibrate them back to warranty manufacturer standard will also increase. The technology should improve the safety of the vehicle, but only if it has been recalibrated correctly.

“Our ADAS solution means that we’re the only windscreen provider that has partnered with the vehicle manufacturers themselves. Our solution is investment free for garages and bodyshops as there’s no need to pay for aftermarket equipment, which can cost as much approx. £20,000, and that cannot recalibrate 100% of the market.“

Rupert adds: “Our process also means that we only use manufacturer approved glass, can guarantee that the technology upgrades for each vehicles are up to date and that the vehicle is returned to the customer in the exact condition that the vehicle manufacturer intended.”

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