Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are now standard in today’s newer cars, providing the potential to reduce human error and therefore the risk of road accidents, which in the future may become almost obsolete. However, the systems in these vehicles naturally require maintenance and could need to be recalibrated following repair work as straightforward as adjustment of the vehicle’s steering geometry, which begs the question: what are garages doing about this growing need?
The prevalence of ADAS technology will only increase, but sadly the majority of garages do not have the necessary equipment for this. As stated, routine service work such as wheel alignment and windscreen replacement can misalign the vehicle’s cameras and sensors, which will affect their accuracy, making the systems essentially useless.
ADAS technology includes features such as adaptive cruise control, driver drowsiness detection, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot and pedestrian monitoring and automatic parking.
As these systems are vitally important to driver and pedestrian safety, garages should be investing in the equipment and promoting the fact that they are able to undertake ADAS recalibration. However, it seems that not only are garages missing an important opportunity, they are unaware of the issue and the risks associated with failing to recalibrate the systems following vehicle repair.
In addition, there is the important question as to who is legally responsible if a partially or fully autonomous vehicle crashes or causes an accident: the vehicle manufacturer or the garage, which has a huge impact on how garages should respond to servicing them.
There are approximately 22,464 active MOT test centres in the UK and approximately 28 million MOT tests are carried out annually, but how many of these vehicle required recalibration and how many MOT test centres are equipped to carry out the procedure?
In an incredibly short period, ADAS has gone from being an option for a minority of new vehicles, to standard in the majority. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, 2016 Volvo XC90 and Jeep Renegade to name just three, have a multitude of these complex systems, including cruise control, automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers, all of which rely on being correctly calibrated for their full functionality.
This leads to the obvious question as to whether the independent sector will be ready when these cars enter the aftermarket. Also, should it be mandatory for garages to have recalibration equipment and, if so, who should enforce it? This leads to yet another vital question: can the everyday garage afford the investment?