ADAS is the word

Think you can ignore advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)? Think again. It’s already in your workshop

Published:  29 April, 2019

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have gone from a nice-to-have to a legal requirement in a relatively short space of time.

It is a huge market and it is growing, so more and more cars coming through the door have these systems. This means that if garages don’t have the knowledge, training and equipment required to calibrate ADAS systems correctly, they could be ruling themselves out of business entirely.

The future, today
ADAS is the word, and it is the future, today. Robin Huish, Managing Director of Hickleys agrees: “ADAS was an increasing topic of conversation throughout 2018, continues to be in 2019 and this sure to continue  in the coming years. The level of ADAS systems being installed on new cars is increasing rapidly but that doesn’t mean this is something you can consider for the future; ADAS systems fitted to vehicles regularly coming into the independent garage need repair and calibration now.
“If you want to offer a complete service to your customers you need to consider equipping your workshops and assembling the knowledge to deal with ADAS as soon as possible. One thing is for sure these systems are not going to go away and the demand for service and calibration will rapidly increase.”

Camera and Radar
Robin breaks down the opportunity: “ADAS systems are developed to improve safety and lead to better driving. Safety features are designed to avoid collisions and accidents by offering technologies that alert the driver to potential problems, or to avoid collisions by implementing safeguards and in some cases taking over control of the vehicle.
“Broadly the market splits into two sectors, Camera and Radar. The equipment required to work with both systems varies. Camera was first to impact the independent market in a big way, with a front-facing camera fitted to a windscreen. When a windscreen is replaced the camera requires recalibration. Most windscreen replacement companies now are able to carry out this task with carefully chosen diagnostic scan tools and calibration hardware. This has now become a major part of their income stream. Recently the ability to offer mobile calibration equipment has again increased the opportunity for mobile diagnostic specialists to carry out these tasks. Of course, windscreen replacement is just one market sector that needs ADAS equipment. Crash repairers, diagnostic specialists, independent garages, fast fits and fleet workshops will all face the need to repair front and rear camera systems.

“Radar is the fastest expanding area, firstly using front and rear detection but now covering the whole surrounding area of the car including blind spots, pedestrian detection, traffic signal information and emergency braking. The equipment required for radar calibration is similar to camera, again using carefully selected diagnostic scan tools and various radar attachments and accessories. This can be an expansion of the camera equipment using the same basic equipment and stand. Again for the mobile specialist, the equipment is easily transported.”

Forward-thinking
How does a garage incorporate ADAS into their business? “ADAS calibrations are usually around £150 to £250,” says Robin, “and diagnostic repairs where an ADAS system has failed adds many hundreds of pounds of revenue to a forward-thinking garage.”
What about kit? “There is a range of equipment available from diagnostic suppliers such as Bosch, Texa and Hickleys’ exclusive brand RCCT. With prices from only £4,995 joining the ADAS boom is surprisingly easy with repayments from as little as £27 per week.”

Robin says think before you leap though: “One word of warning is to carefully select your equipment and speak to a specialist that doesn’t represent just one brand. Get an
on-site demonstration and review the options considering all aspects of the market, consider carefully your chosen diagnostic tool as well. ADAS information varies dramatically from tool to tool and some manufacturers are locking down their software so it can only be used with their hardware. This is fine if they cover everything but what happens if they fall behind, do you buy it all again from another supplier?”

Choice
As with many areas, independents need to be strong and fight their corner: “Despite recent comments – generally from the those affiliated to the vehicle manufacturers or bodies closely associated – discouraging independents from recalibrating ADAS systems,” says Neil Hilton, Head of Business Development for Hella Gutmann Solutions (HGS), “the fact remains that vehicles fitted with the technology are entering workshops daily. As a result, the sector needs to make a choice and either embrace it or ignore the opportunities it provides.”

Legislation has its part to play: “Since 2016, to qualify for a 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating, the VMs have to fit their vehicles with, as a minimum requirement, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning. These are both complex systems that, following any intervention that affects their set-up, require specialist recalibration equipment to reset the cameras or radars on which the vehicle relies for its ADAS operation.”
Neil continues: “This naturally includes accident damage and windscreen replacement, but it also encompasses general service and repair work, such as adjustment to the vehicle’s tracking or wheel alignment, as well as coil spring or steering component replacement. In short, anything that affects the vehicle’s geometry, because it is through this datum that ADAS functions are calibrated and then operate.”

Commenting on the HGS offering, Neil says: “Clearly, VMs and their associates, do not want the independent sector to have any interaction with these systems, so unless independents are simply willing to cede the business back to the dealer, there has to be an aftermarket solution, which is what HGS has been championing for more than five years. HGS is the market leader for ADAS technology in the aftermarket and offers a comprehensive multi-brand solution, covering more than 92% of the UK’s ADAS equipped car parc. The company has become renowned for its knowledge and expertise on this complicated subject, with multiple high profile businesses, including Thatcham Research, the motor insurers’ automotive research centre and Autoglass in the UK and Europe, CESVI in France and AIG Insurance Group, using the Hella Gutmann Solutions CSC (Camera and Sensor Calibration) tool to establish the standards the sector should be meeting in regards to ADAS recalibration. Therefore, providing an independent goes through the correct procedure in terms of setting-up the equipment that comes with the CSC tool – an operation that once learned takes only 20 minutes or so – it can undertake ADAS recalibration with complete confidence and to the same standard as the dealer.”
    
Another issue for VMs  is the quality of the parts used in any pre-recalibration repair as they  prefer the use of their genuine parts programmes, installed by an affiliated dealer.
“From an aftermarket perspective however,” Neil concludes, “provided the independent uses replacement components of comparable quality to the OE part, which are installed following the correct procedure, the repair will conform with Block Exemption regulations and the recalibration will be valid, so allowing the independent to compete with the dealer in an open and fair market.”


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