Advanced driver assist systems, ADAS for short, are evolving. Whatis.com defines them as “technologies used to make motor vehicle travel safer by automating, improving or adapting some or all of the tasks involved in operating a vehicle.”
When all those tasks are automated, the vehicle is fully automated. We aren’t at that stage yet, at least on a far-reaching scale. But millions of vehicles already featuring ADAS will need to be serviced. And as more ADAS-related technologies emerge, more training will be needed.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) knows this. So do the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, co-owners of the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX).
ASE conducted a conference in mid-September to determine how technicians can be accurately and fairly assessed for competency in diagnosing, repairing, replacing and calibrating advanced driver assist systems and components.
“The technology that comprises these systems — sensors, cameras, radar, LiDAR, modules and CAN bus communication networks — is not unknown to technicians who have been diagnosing, repairing or replacing these components on other vehicle systems for some time,” says ASE. “It is understood that the structure of different manufacturers’ advanced driver assistance systems, the procedures to calibrate the systems, and the tooling are diverse.”
(Questions on various elements of ADAS technology appear on several appropriate ASE certification exams.)
Additional workshops will be needed “to develop the scope and the number of assessments required for the ADAS body of knowledge.”
AAPEX 2019 is hosting a three-hour ADAS Forum in Las Vegas to prepare automotive repair outlets for the opportunities and challenges of servicing ADAS-equipped vehicles. The forum will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Bellini Ballroom at The Venetian.
“This evolving technology includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, forward collision warnings and adaptive light control, to name a few,” said AAPEX in a press release. “When servicing ADAS-equipped vehicles, sensors, cameras, radar units and LiDAR units may need to be recalibrated even during common repairs such as wheel alignments and tire changes. Technicians also need to understand the many variations of calibration procedures, terms and definitions as original equipment manufacturers each use different ADAS calibration processes.”
Session one of the forum will cover today’s ADAS. Panelists will discuss the following:
- the investment required for targets;
- the highly controlled floor space and technician training to ensure proper calibration; and
- the new business opportunities created by this technology.
Session One also will include a presentation, “Who is Liable When ADAS Systems Are Not Calibrated Properly.”
Chris Gardner, senior vice president of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, will moderate. Panelists will include Frank Leutz, COO of Desert Car Care in Chandler, Ariz., and host of the Wrench Nation Car Radio Talk Show; Dave Milne, president of ASE; and John Nielsen, managing director of the American Automobile Association.
AAPEX says Session Two will focus on the future of ADAS, with panelists from leading-edge solution providers sharing their vision for next-generation ADAS recalibration tools and techniques that will take the current state of the art to the next level in efficiency and performance. Ryan Frisch, manager of R&D engineering-EE for Hunter Engineering Co., will moderate the discussion.
For more information, visit www.aapexshow.com.
A bold move
The need for servicing advanced driver assist systems in Keyport, N.J., and the surrounding area is so great that technicians Jason and Janet Bigelow eliminated tire sales at their 24-year-old business to focus on ADAS service. The result is a name change from Advanced Tire & Auto Center to Advanced ADAS Calibration Center.
The Bigelows opened a second ADAS Calibration Center in Old Bridge, N.J., earlier this year to exclusively serve its insurance-industry and body shop clients because of the growing demand for expert ADAS services, said Janet.
Modern Tire Dealer sent the busy Bigelows some questions about their new operation, which they say performs all routine service work with the exception of tires. Here are their answers.
MTD: Do you repair/calibrate all driver assistance systems? Please list the systems you do repair/calibrate.
Bigelows: Yes, virtually all makes and models. Subaru EyeSight, Nissan ProPilot, Honda LaneWatch, Toyota Safety Sense. (According to Car and Driver, Honda “will be focusing on ‘traditional’ blind-spot monitoring systems and shifting away from LaneWatch on future models.”)
MTD: Which system is the hardest system to service?
Bigelows: The most complex system to service is Audi pre sense. When performing a wheel alignment, the lane assist, rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control all need to be calibrated.
MTD: What training did you receive to properly service these vehicles? Do you need to be trained on each OEM system? In other words, are the systems radically different from one another?
Bigelows: ASE (www.ase.com), I-CAR (www.i-car.com), Automotive Training Solutions Ltd. (www.autotrainingsolutions.co.uk).
MTD: Why did you give up tire sales and focus on ADAS calibration?
Bigelows: Floor space. ADAS calibrations require a controlled environment with regards to lighting, right down to the shop walls being painted non-reflective, removing lifts to provide ample open space for 360-degree ADAS camera calibrations. This calibration requires 30 feet of unobstructed space around the vehicle.
MTD: How many vehicles on average do you perform ADAS service on per day? How many days a week are you open?
Bigelows: Eight to 12 vehicles per day/six days per week.
MTD: How many technicians do you employ at each of your two locations? How do you pay them?
Bigelows: Four technicians in the original location/two in the new location. We pay our technicians hourly; we believe the flat rate system breeds dishonesty.
MTD: What is your labor rate per hour?
Bigelows: $130 per hour.
MTD: Does the profit margin you charge change depending on the system serviced? Is there a minimum margin you charge?
Bigelows: Our profit margin does not change depending on the system serviced. There is no minimum margin we charge.
MTD: What equipment is needed to perform ADAS service?
Bigelows: Currently we utilize 21 factory OE scan tools along with OE targeting systems. Entry into performing these services is about $500,000. Many aftermarket calibration systems are beginning to enter the market, but we believe due to the sensitivity of these life-saving systems OE targeting is the preferred method.
MTD: Do you believe autonomous vehicles are the wave of the future?
Bigelows: Absolutely. The rapid implementation of these systems is a push toward autonomous vehicles. Fully autonomous vehicles have already been implemented in agriculture. Next roll out would be commercial trucks in a controlled environment — shipping ports, airports. Autonomous vehicles have already logged millions of miles in rural areas. The first noticeable to the general public would be taxi cabs and Uber. Uber is fully committed and heavily invested into the development and implementation of autonomous vehicles. ■