Adapting to ADAS

May 10, 2023
ADAS in some form is the new norm for cars, and it's time for technicians to be prepared.

Technology in the automotive industry has been advancing rapidly–especially as EVs become more common in the market. A considerable part of that technological advance has been advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). 

FenderBender spoke with Kevin FitzPatrick, senior vice president of North America Operations at Opus IVS, to talk about the company’s classes on ADAS, what they can offer to technicians and why shop owners should be paying attention. 

Classes Addressing Real Problems 

Opus IVS offers several webinars and online resources discussing ADAS, as well as other emerging technologies, led by industry professionals. 

Recently, the company has started offering a “master classes” series, a free training program with material released on a monthly basis. FitzPatrick says the company is in a “unique” position with around 100 master technicians answering nearly 800 calls daily from shops asking for advice.  

“So we'll look at the issues that we're getting through the call center seeing what is affecting our customers,” FitzPatrick explains. 

With the help of those technicians, Opus IVS created classes based on issues shops have reported related to vehicle technology to ensure shop technicians are informed. A recent class offered on the Audi e-tron was borne out of the number of calls Opus received about problems with them. 

The company has several different classes online and the list is rapidly expanding. Webinars are announced through social media as they are released, and the company is launching a training page on its website soon to access all its content in one place. 

The Need for ADAS Training 

FitzPatrick has co-owned a successful repair shop on Long Island with his brother since 1996. In the past seven years, he has seen a “tremendous amount” of growth in the ADAS field.  

He started seeing more vehicles equipped with ADAS come into his shop around 2015, but with things such as backup cameras on nearly every car, “now it’s on everything,” he says.

ADAS is a huge component of EVs, as well; many of the customers at FitzPatrick’s shop have switched to EVs. There are of course other considerations that go into working on EVs, such as their increased weights and environmental demands in terms of handling and storage. EV education is also something technicians have access to as more of these vehicles roll across shop floors. 

ADAS has seen many evolutions over the past few years through EVs and has more in store. Throughout the next couple of years, “the vehicles are going to learn,” FitzPatrick says. New cameras and sensors will be added and vehicles will be able to recognize road markings and signs. 

“But of course,” he adds, “those systems being technical, they’ll break plenty.” 

When those systems are damaged, technicians need to know what course of action to take. FitzPatrick says one of the biggest hurdles technicians face is how ADAS can vary between vehicles and that Opus’ classes on ADAS help to prepare technicians for that. 

“If you look at a late model Chevy product, for instance, you might have three trim levels of the same vehicle, all with different ADAS on them,” he explains. 

Shops Preparing Their Technicians 

FitzPatrick says a shop expecting technicians to train on their own time is unreasonable. He suggests giving time off to technicians to attend classes or offering incentives such as a bonus.  

Whether businesses want to be involved with ADAS or not, it’s unavoidable at this point and can jeopardize drivers’ safety if improperly managed. When the vehicle is returned to the customer, it is with the expectation that all damage has been restored to as it was before, and that includes technicians knowing how to calibrate systems properly.  

“You want to make sure the techs obviously have all the information; No. 1, from a profitability standpoint, but No. 2, to make sure they’re returning them to their customers in an absolutely safe condition,” FitzPatrick says. 

ADAS is becoming more prevalent in the automotive industry. As vehicle technology continues to evolve, supporting technicians in their preparation results in quality work and a reliable brand that can keep up with the change. 

About the Author

Kacey Frederick

Kacey Frederick is an assistant editor for Endeavor Business Media's Vehicle Repair Group.

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