Mitchell 1 Adds to the Buzz About ADAS

You’re probably hearing the term ADAS — Advanced Driver Assistance Systems — a lot these days. It’s a very hot topic for independent auto repair businesses. Vehicles equipped with these high-tech systems have been around for a while but are beginning to be seen in shops in greater numbers for diagnosis, calibration and repairs.

Ben Johnson's insights on why ADAS Is Here to Stay

Ben Johnson

Mitchell 1 is on the leading edge of the technology with a new ADAS quick reference in our ProDemand auto repair software. Our own Ben Johnson, Director of Product Management for Mitchell 1, wrote an insightful guest column entitled ADAS Is Here to Stay and Shops Need to Be Aware of Systems and Proper Calibrations  in the October issue of Parts and People Magazine.

Here’s an excerpt, and you can link above and at the end to read the full article:

ADAS – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems – ever heard of it?  If you haven’t, you’re not alone.  In shop visits around the country I meet a lot of blank gazes when I mention it.  But if I asked about features like “blind-side monitoring,” “pedestrian detection,” “adaptive cruise control” or “lane departure warning,” you would likely have recognized most of them.  ADAS is simply an industry-invented term which attempts to categorize all these features.

ADAS features have been slowly creeping into the vehicles on our roadways since 2009, which now puts those early entrants in the middle of the “aftermarket sweet spot” – those cars are coming into your bays today!  In fact, at a recent visit to a shop I know in Chicago, I was told of several mirror replacements which had the side cameras included as well as glass replacements – all which involved ADAS components.  And with the increase in attention to safety, the vehicles coming in equipped with some level of ADAS are going to become exponentially more common.

Why is all this important? ADAS is an intricate eco-system of cameras, radar systems, sensors and control modules. The control modules use a variety of technologies to help interpret the signals received to deliver ADAS features. While these systems haven’t had a high failure rate (so far), many of the components are precisely calibrated to ensure the control modules are interpreting the proper information. And it’s easier than you might think for them to go “out of calibration.”

Ignoring the obvious things like fender-benders, let’s say you’re replacing an A/C condenser on a car and to gain access you remove the forward camera/radar unit located behind the grille. Now when your A/C condenser job is complete, that forward camera/radar needs to be recalibrated, as it could be mounted slightly differently than before.

Perhaps a simpler example would be a four-wheel alignment on a car and the rear thrust angle needs to be adjusted. On most vehicles equipped with ADAS features, calibrations will need to be performed after that alignment. For instance, a 2016 Audi A8 Quattro equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Change Assist System adds 2.2 hours of labor time for calibration to the 1.8 hours already assumed for the alignment.

What happens if the calibrations are not done correctly? There likely will be no indication – no MIL illuminated, etc. But while the vehicle is driving, the “field of view” can be slightly shifted. When you consider even a 2 degree alteration on a forward-facing radar module, the focus at 60 feet ahead of the car won’t even be in the car’s same lane. Potentially deadly consequences can result from unanticipated behaviors of the adaptive cruise, pedestrian detection and other features.  CLICK to continue reading in Parts and People

If you’re going to AAPEX in Las Vegas NV Oct 30- Nov. 1, the spotlight on ADAS will continue on the AAPEX Let’s Tech stage at the Sands Expo where Ben Johnson will be giving an in-depth, 20-minute Let’s Tech presentation covering “ADAS and the Need for Calibration.” Check it out:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m.