DRIVING HAS BEEN REVOLUTIONISED – BUT DON’T OVERLOOK ADAS CALIBRATION!
If you’ve bought a car in the last ten years or so, then ADAS is sure to be one of the features of your vehicle. If you’re still wondering what ADAS is, it stands for “Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems”, and they have become increasingly common as their technology and effectiveness have rapidly improved. The Advanced Driving Assistance System includes, among other features: lane departure assistance, reverse parking sensors, and active blind-spot alert. Also, cross-traffic warning, traffic signs recognition, night vision, surround-view camera (on selected models), and rear collision warning are other features that are part of ADAS as well. The user-friendly functions and automated nature of the technology have meant that we have quickly adapted to its use. Still, many of us are likely to be blissfully unaware of what is required to keep these systems working properly.
While in the past, we listened for clunking or grinding or judged whether the steering or suspension seemed off with ADAS isn’t so easy for us to identify when there’s a serious malfunction unless it just doesn’t sound or appears when it shouldn’t. Given the way that technology has advanced, it is the recommendation to seek help from an authorised auto shop. When seeking help, do inquire if they have trained specialists and all the sophisticated equipment to deal with the ADAS calibration. The ADAS features of your car can even be impacted when you take your car in for routine maintenance, which is why calibration is a crucial step in the modern car repair and maintenance process.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN ADAS CALIBRATION?
The Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems works via a network of advanced sensors that are placed around the car and provide data to you via your driver HUD, central display touchscreen or the instrument cluster display. If these cameras and sensors become misaligned at some point, then they are at risk of losing efficacy. Even a tiny loss of vision can severely impair their ability to function as they should.
With so many different car brands and models on the road, it is not possible to provide a “one size fits all” approach, but ADAS calibration providers have come up with several solutions to this problem. First, the central systems and frameworks through which the calibration happens are the same but with several “add-on” features that suit each marque. Each car brand has its camera calibration panel, which is placed at the front and rear of the apparatus during the operation. These panels integrate with the calibration equipment seamlessly, allowing for different car makes to be serviced in easy succession.
WHEN WILL I NEED TO SEEK ADAS CALIBRATION CENTRES?
The importance of the calibration cannot be emphasised enough. Aside from the reasons listed below, that can cause immediate misalignment when calibration is a must and not an option. There are other factors that can impact the alignment of the sensors, some of which cause misalignment immediately, and others may cause it through general use of the car over time that could affect the ADAS system or just some of the components. Some of these factors could be: driving on uneven roads or hitting curbs.
Some immediate misalignments caused by repairs:
- Replacing the windscreen
- Replacing the bumper
- Repairing or replacing the suspension
- Fixing the wheel alignment
Even if driving in a perfect environment and no repairs will ever be done, from time to time, recalibration is necessary. One should not rely on the assumption that the Advanced Driving Assistance System does not need calibration for its lifespan.
If you have this kind of work done on your car, then calibration is needed. It has become a requirement that it is done after any such repairs occur. If you have had these jobs done, there is typically a warning light in your dashboard that will signify if one of the ADAS systems requires checking. We at OGS Mechanics are equipped and trained to deal with ADAS calibration and ensure that your car is well taken care of and safe on the roads.
DO WE NEED ADAS IN OUR CARS? DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Since the creation of the first motor vehicle rolled onto our public roads, one thing has been the common factor behind every automotive issue we’ve ever had with safety, 99.99999 % reliability, utility and everything else — human error. We endeavour to build the perfect machine, but more frequently, we create a fragile ecosystem where even one part moving a few millimetres out of line will disrupt the harmony of the entire chain. It was true when our cars were entirely mechanical parts, and it remains true as we digitalise and energise our car’s interiors.
ADAS is the next step in a long evolution in which we have seen all kinds of mishaps and horror, ranging from low-speed collisions reversing out of a space in the supermarket car park to a full-blown high-speed ten-car pileup on the motorway. We can never truly remove the problem of human error – as long as we are human, we will err, but what we can do is use our growing technological prowess to mitigate the worst effects. ADAS does just that.
Take adaptive cruise control with a speed limiter combined with sensors that help you maintain your distance from the car in front. A lot of research, funding, time and effort went into the creation of this easy-to-use but significantly complex and delicate system. If that system helps to keep your speed and distance in a safe balance, then the room for human error is minimal. It would take a conscious effort to beat that system. Thus, we discover that the great gift that ADAS gives us when driving is awareness and the reminder to stay vigilant.
The same is true of all ADAS features. Their purpose is to reduce the margin of human error until it is so razor-thin that we can diminish the frequency of accidents until they can become a rarity rather than a daily occurrence.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I IGNORE THE NEED FOR ADAS CALIBRATION?
In simple terms, a lot can happen. The result of improper calibration and alignment of the sensors and cameras can range from a basic annoyance of occasional automatic braking happening prematurely to not being warned of pedestrians on the road or failing to detect a car in the blind spot. The blog Fender Bender posted an article in April 2019 in which an ADAS expert recounted a tale of automatic brakes initiating every time a driver approached a bridge. The culprit? A radar unit behind the grille of the driver’s Toyota Prius was tipped up by just 2 degrees by accident after a major post-accident repair — TWO degrees. All that trouble caused by a camera off by a couple of degrees proves just how much impact improper calibration can have.
Now imagine that the error occurred in the blind spot monitoring system. All clear…BAM. Of course, ADAS systems are not a substitute for the human eye and driver vigilance. Auto producers go to great lengths to remind drivers that their driver assists systems are NOT a substitute for competent driving. As we have mentioned, the purpose of ADAS is not to replace the driver’s eye but rather to augment it, to supplement and support it. To do that, every ADAS system needs to be adequately calibrated using the right equipment and specialists trained to operate it. At the same time, not all car repair garages are equipped to calibrate the ADAS system. Therefore, it is very important to have your vehicle inspected, repaired and/or calibrated by an authorized car repair shop. We at OGS Mechanics are authorized, trained and equipped to do any car repair and ADAS calibration.
DOES ADAS MAKE MY CAR MORE EXPENSIVE?
As with all new technology, there is some extra financial cost, and it will also to a repair bill if you have to get recalibration done after the types of repairs we have mentioned above. As time rolls on, however, technology naturally increases its efficiency and application, and as these technologies become the norm, prices come down, and more of us can enjoy them as standard features that won’t encumber us with a further financial burden. To discuss “cost” reasonably, though, we should also consider the potential savings in repairs and maintenance that ADAS systems can do for you. If you maintain your vigilance and keep the cameras and sensors calibrated, then the kinds of costly damage endured by a typical car without ADAS won’t happen to you. When you get hit with a £5,000 bill for significant bodywork, that’s money that you could have used for a family holiday or a significant home appliance upgrade. It could have even just been saved for your kids’ university fund. When you picture the cost in this way, the calibration of your car’s ADAS features becomes an investment, not an expense.
ADAS features are bound to become the new norm in the automotive world. Some features are already standard, but others are optional extras. Given more time, the number of standard features will surely increase. As it does, ADAS calibration will become an essential and even everyday notion in how we perceive car maintenance. In the past, we listened for clunking or grinding or judged whether the steering or suspension seemed off according to our own feeling alone. ADAS isn’t so easy for us to identify when there’s a severe malfunction unless it just doesn’t sound or appear when it should. The result is that we have to rely more than ever on the expertise of those working at authorized car repair garages with ADAS calibration equipment to keep these systems on track. The ADAS features of your car can even be impacted when you take your car in for routine maintenance, which is why calibration is a crucial step in the modern car repair and maintenance process.
O.G.S. MECHANICS IS FULLY EQUIPPED FOR THE VEHICLE ADAS CALIBRATION
Windscreen replacement, accident repair carried out, ADAS sensor replacements or even a minor wheel alignment will require ADAS calibration. Our dedicated ADAS-trained engineers are here to assist and recalibrate any system.
Here, at OGS Mechanics, we not only specialize in ADAS calibration but also in fault diagnosis and repairs on the systems of the Advanced Driver Assist. Contact us now!