Learning to Accommodate for ADAS Repairs
Vehicles today are a far cry from what they were 20 years ago, when cars weren’t equipped with a single advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS). Today, cars are coming equipped with automatic emergency braking (AEB), forward collision warning (FCW) and radar sensors, not to mention LIDAR remote sensing. New technology brings with it new demands for repairing vehicles accurately and efficiently.
Collision repair companies are launching new solutions to help technicians fix vehicles properly. For instance, Chief Collision Technology launched one of the industry’s first automated ADAS calibration systems. I-CAR even launched enhancements to its core education program to include vehicle and technology specific training.
“If we don’t repair this vehicle the way it was intended to be repaired, per OEMs’ standards, it’s not going to react the same way,” says Mike Croker, global repair and training product manager for Chief.
“And then we’re taking someone’s life into our own hands.”
Croker emphasizes that the biggest factor leading to a shop’s success is its ability to complete a safe and accurate repair. He says body shops need to keep up with ever-evolving technological advancements.
“It’s different than anything we’ve ever seen in the industry in the past,” says Bud Center, I-CAR subject matter expert and lead associate. “These technicians will need to be more of a learner type and thrive on going into service manuals and researching service information.”
So, here’s a question for you; Has your shop advanced far enough to survive?
What to Expect in ADAS Technician Training
Several ADAS courses are currently available for technicians. (See Sidebar: ADAS Course Opportunities) I-CAR experts work closely with automakers to develop courses that techs can take.
Center says a technician’s success in repairing vehicles with advanced technology will be based on OE requirements for completing the repairs, strong understanding of how the systems are designed and perform, and the ability to go out and test the systems.
Croker feels that, for a system like Chief’s, the technician will be trained on how to use it before even being able to start the device. The training takes a little more than two hours and can be done virtually. Once a technician passes the training, he or she will be given a site key to turn on the calibration system.
One challenge to industry organizations working together to build standardized ADAS training courses is the discontinuity between manufacturers and their individual repair requirements.
“Basically, the more training you have on repairing any type of ADAS system, the better the outcome will be,” Croker adds.
Another challenge in teaching the repair process stems from the chance for mistakes. Croker says that, while performing these repairs, the technician is required to take so many measurements with tape measures and string, that it does create room for error.
“Just because they did a process does not mean it was done correctly,” Croker says.
What to Plan for ADAS Work on the Shop Floor
The shop owner, Center says, will need to do more research in the foreseeable future. The owner will need to analyze his or her business and determine which makes and models are arriving at their shop most frequently. Then, the owner will need to obtain the specific vehicles’ repair procedures, and stay updated on them as they get updated.
Shops will need to require a space the size of at least one bay of unobstructed floor space in order to perform accurate ADAS calibrations. In some cases, the space will need to have no reflective surfaces, because sunlight coming through a window could cause issues with calibrations.
“When it comes to ADAS repairs and calibrations, floor space is always at a premium,” Center says. “It can be very difficult to dedicate floor space to these calibrations.”
And, when it comes to the current manual calibration process there isn’t a way to verify the target is in the correct position easily, and there isn’t an ideal way to verify if the calibration is correct. With a system like the Chief Mosaic the machine calibrates itself every 24-hours or every calibration if needed. It also has technology that verifies correct target placement.
Croker says a shop will need to make sure the vehicle structure is straight and will need a 3-D measuring system that can document that. In the case of proper calibration it is critical that the vehicle structure and wheel alignments are done, and done correctly. The wheel alignment may be OEM specific. The shop operator will need to obtain documentation of the calibration.
“Each step in ADAS repairs is so critical to the overall function of the repair that technicians can’t skip a single one,” Croker notes.