What is ADAS Calibration?
According to a 2019 report, “Advantage Driver Technology Names,” 92.7 percent of new vehicles were sold with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as of May 2018. Costs were relatively small, considering how much ADAS enhances safety. In 2018, the average ADAS bundle accounted for $1,950 of the vehicle’s total price (about 5.4 percent).
At that time, at least 80 percent of cars in the midsized, large, and SUV categories had adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, and automatic emergency braking technologies. Plus, at least 60 percent of vehicles within 70 percent of vehicle segments had lane keeping assistance. Many times, manufacturers package ADAS technologies into suites without specifically naming them, so drivers may have more protection than they realize.
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that nearly every new car on the road today has ADAS. The small percentage of them that don’t yet benefit are sharing the road with those that do.
This technology includes cameras and other sensors that assist drivers in a wide spectrum of everyday functions, and to help them detect potentially dangerous situations so they can more easily avoid them.
This post will provide a quick overview of the system and then focus on ADAS calibration equipment and its importance for safe driving.
Like most game-changing technologies, ADAS was created as a solution to a significant problem. In 1979, a study by Treat et. al noted that “human errors and deficiencies” were a probable or even definite reason for 90 to 93 percent of road crashes that were reported. In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came up with a similar conclusion: that 93 percent of road crashes were caused by human error.
In between those two studies, car manufacturers began installing ADAS into their vehicles with some modern systems available in the 1990s. Manufacturers then continued to develop this technology. In 2008, a core feature—automatic emergency braking—was created to help prevent a possible crash. If the driver doesn’t respond quickly enough by applying the brakes, the vehicle technology can do so automatically. Virtually all car manufacturers intend to have this feature in new vehicles by 2022.
Systems commonly found in vehicles today include the following:
- Adaptive cruise control
- Automatic emergency braking systems
- Automatic navigational systems
- Blind spot detection
- Collision avoidance systems
- Driver drowsiness detection
- Electric vehicle warning systems
- Forward collision warnings
- Hill defense control systems
- Lane departure warnings
- Night detection devices
- Parking assistance technology
- Pedestrian presence warnings
- Rain sensors
- Smart speed adaptation
- Steering angle management
- Surround view systems
- Tire pressure monitoring
- Traffic sign recognition
Five common types include the following:
- ADAS camera sensors: Cameras located inside a vehicle’s windshield will take in information about the road in front of it—from other vehicles to obstacles and more—to help the driver avoid accidents. This is why car calibration is vital when an automotive shop repairs or replaces a windshield.
- Lidar ADAS sensors: Some vehicles have this advanced sensor technology that uses pulsing radar for precise intaking of information across a significant range.
- Radar ADAS sensors: These sensors have greater range than camera sensors, using high frequency radar waves to calculate distances between the vehicle and other objects. This technology works well in low light, including in poor weather conditions.
- Sonar ADAS sensors: These systems use sound waves to perform functions similar to those done by radar sensors. These often work best in activities where close monitoring is needed, such as parking assistance technology.
- Thermal ADAS sensors: These systems use infrared to help drivers see in dark driving conditions, including fog, and in sun glare. This technology can also help drivers detect the presence of pedestrians.
As car manufacturers use increasingly more sophisticated technology to protect drivers, the need for increasingly more sophisticated ADAS calibration tools becomes necessary.
When crashes occur, it isn’t unusual for sensitive components of ADAS to become damaged or out of alignment. (This damage isn’t always visible to the human eye.) So, this is when car calibration becomes necessary. This process precisely aligns and aims the types of sensors described above, returning them to original specifications as much as possible.
Here’s why calibration is important. Sensors out of alignment by a fraction of an inch can cause them to aim significantly off axis. This leads to drivers relying upon systems that aren’t, in fact, reliable at all as they navigate roadways. This can lead to accident and injury—up to and including fatal ones.
As noted, ADAS calibration equipment should return sensor technology to OEM specifications as closely as possible. To add to the complexity of this process, each manufacturer has its own proprietary technology. So, each one requires professional calibration in unique ways simply because each manufacturer has its own one-of-a-kind system.
Plus, the specifics of ADAS technologies will range across makes and models. Some vehicles have more basic technology while others will have much more advanced ADAS—with cameras and sensors placed in different positions. So, two cars could go through similar crashes with one requiring fewer calibrations and, the other one, much more significant ones.
This means that, besides having knowledge of ADAS calibration equipment in general, today’s professionals must have brand specific knowledge. In today’s rapidly changing world, this means it’s vital to have brand specialists on board who specifically keep up with advancements in ADAS technology: what’s available in particular make and model in a particular year; where cameras and sensors are placed; and how, when necessary, they must be calibrated for the maximum of safety.
Car Calibration Example: Windshields
When a car that’s equipped with ADAS becomes involved in a front end crash, even if structural damage is minor, this will affect the crash avoidance radar system. Plus, it will trigger a need to recalibrate the forward facing camera located on or by the windshield as part of the repair. This kind of car calibration is also required when a windshield is replaced.
Specific calibrations will vary based on the make, model, and year of the vehicle. Examples of car calibrations that may be required include adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance braking, and lane departure warnings, among others. Specifics will depend upon whether static or dynamic calibrations are required.
As yet another example, windshield calibrations may be needed during wheel alignments or suspension repairs. In other words, car calibrations by the windshield are needed far more often than when the windshield itself needs to be repaired or replaced—with optimal procedures varying by manufacturer.
Car Calibrations: From Start to Finish
When a vehicle comes into a repair shop, the first step of the process won’t be calibration. First comes scanning and diagnostics to determine the damage and the fix—and these processes on ADAS-equipped vehicles have also become increasingly more sophisticated.
In other words, ADAS calibration is part of the overall repair process that gets cars back on the road as quickly and safely as possible. Two other steps include:
- Manual/visual vehicle inspection: This is the traditional search for damage, which includes obvious damage to ADAS sensors, cameras and more. You’ll also verify that malfunction indicator lamps are working and check to see if seatbelts, airbags, and/or knee bolsters deployed during the accident. Document unusual sounds and smells, as well.
- Pre-scan the vehicle: In this step, you’ll determine what damage was done to the vehicle along with what car calibrations may be necessary.
Car Calibrations of the Future
Technological advancements in vehicles have rapidly occurred over the past two or three decades, and changes continue to occur at a rapid pace. Not that long ago, vehicles had no automation. Then, with ADAS, drivers began to receive crucial assistance to help them avoid accidents—and although this was a major advancement, the driver was still in complete control of maneuvering the vehicle.
Today, increasing numbers of vehicles are partially automated with the driver still at the wheel. Technology is available for further automation—from conditional to full—but legal issues still need to be addressed before we see more of these advancements on the road.
As this transition occurs, calibration technologies will develop in tandem. In fact, the two types of technologies—ADAS and that connected to autonomous driving—are intricately connected from a developmental sense. After all, it was the early use of sensors in ADAS-equipped vehicles that paved the way for initial autonomous capabilities.
Plus, ADAS systems are allowing drivers to gradually become accustomed to the idea of vehicle technology assisting with certain tasks. This will make the shift to fully autonomous vehicles (anticipated in 2030 at the earliest) less of a sudden change.
In the meantime, researchers continue to seek ways to further develop safety-related applications for vehicles. As just one example, research is ongoing to develop optimal ways to use multiple sensor types for the same purpose. Called sensor fusion, this pursuit may lead to two different ADAS sensor types used to detect people walking in foggy conditions. With this form of intentional redundancy, if one sensor type doesn’t detect walkers in low light, the other would. As manufacturers experiment with different routes, advancements will naturally occur to enhance safety.
As technology advances, one question remains the same: “Which is the best ADAS calibration system?” The answer is the locally connected system by AirPro Diagnostics. Here’s more about how it works and what makes it the superior solution.
Best ADAS Calibration System
Our ADAS equipment is the most advanced solution available today. We leverage OEM licensed software and multi-brand diagnostic resident applications that are directly connected to vehicles in your repair shop. This means that the OEM sourced technology is locally connected, which is something that some manufacturers now require—a comprehensive approach that can benefit all vehicles.
Plus, your repair team has ready access to our remote, OEM trained, brand specific technicians within ten minutes. So far this year, our response time is much faster: one minute and twenty-seven seconds.
Now, here’s how we streamline the process. Our technicians will operate the tool, which means that software won’t need to be sent back and forth across the internet. (This is what other providers do.) Our technicians aren’t using tools or OEM software that’s located elsewhere, (which can slow down the process). Instead, our focus is on fast and accurate response times so you can shorten your shop’s cycle times and boost your bottom line.
Your shop can benefit from our four-step solution by using AirPro’s hardware and the ORION cloud-based diagnostic management system. This means that your shop doesn’t have to have highly skilled brand specialists on site. Instead, your team can efficiently repair vehicles according to OEM specifications and then safely get them on the road. This system is a true difference maker as your business can offer ADAS calibration services, in-house, benefiting from the revenue stream, whether it’s a transmission control module or an SRS one.
You’ll always have the latest in technology as we automatically update your AirPro hardware and ORION software at no charge for you. That’s our Evergreen Warranty.
Choose AirPro for Your ADAS Equipment and Management System
We’re the only company that offers locally connected car diagnostics and car calibration tools for automobiles, light trucks, and heavy duty trucks. Our system will seamlessly take you from scanning to diagnostics to the best ADAS calibration system available today. This 100% touch-free system has the added bonus of being fully remote, reducing opportunities for contagious pathogens to get into your shop.
As the trusted leader in the ADAS calibration industry, we help repair shops like yours to increase productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction—while reducing your risk and limiting your liability while enhancing safety on the road.
We align with vehicle manufacturers and like-minded vendors and organizations as part of our ongoing quest for perfection. You can count on us: today, tomorrow, and in the future as we refuse to compromise on integrity or excellence. After all, we built our reputation by protecting yours.
To learn more about our world-class diagnostics and ADAS calibration tools, please contact us online or call 904-717-1711.