How does increasing complexity of ADAS calibration impact the policyholder?

Sam Clements, assistant manager of the technical and training department at National Windscreens, wrote for Issue 44 of Modern Insurance Magazine, looking at how the increasing complexities in ADAS calibration impacts policyholders.

Alt text not availableSam Clements, Assistant Manager, Technical and Training Department

Connectivity innovations in modern vehicles bring a host of safety, infotainment and comfort improvements for drivers, but occasionally pose risk in terms of tampering and unauthorised access. This has forced manufacturers to mitigate this risk by introducing security systems which restrict access to the on-board diagnostics (OBD) interface.

For the repair supply chain, ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) have already brought about big changes to repair procedures and the time required. These latest security advances bring further change, with the need for over-the air diagnostics using a live internet connection with a licensed provider, to be able to access the vehicle ECU and carry out calibration of ADAS cameras for example.

For an increasing number of policyholders, such developments have meant a significantly changed repair experience.

Repair times are increased due to this vehicle complexity and over 50% of the ADAS calibrations we undertake have to be completed in workshop conditions, rather than at the customer location, in order to meet vehicle manufacturer requirements.

A challenge faced by insurers and the repair supply chain is how to work together most effectively to help policyholders understand the value of this new journey and how it ensures the vehicle is returned with all of its safety systems working as intended.

We are now calibrating 13% of all vehicles requiring replacement windscreens, a percentage that has doubled over the past 18 months and is set to accelerate even more quickly to meet new vehicle type approval rules in 2022. For most fleet companies, where older vehicles are less common, the calibration requirement is already over 30%. The number of policyholders affected by this new repair experience is therefore already significant and growing fast.

Thatcham’s latest Insurance Industry Requirements (IIR), released in July this year, will also mean more calibrations being undertaken - for cameras, lidar and radar. The IIR offer clear guidance for the repair supply chain on what they must deliver at each stage of the process and it provides a consistent approach to ensuring vehicle safety systems are working as intended after a repair.

This is a hugely positive step, allowing insurers to monitor their repair supply chain in the delivery of consistent standards of calibration according to the Thatcham IIR. However, with the Government progressing its consultation on driverless vehicles, more regulation will undoubtedly still be needed.

Over the next few years, most policyholders will experience this new repair journey. As we continually develop our technology and processes to meet these calibration requirements, we will work closely with our insurer partners to ensure that policyholders are not unhappy with the changes. We must make sure policyholders welcome the new journey, appreciating it is part of a total focus on their safety.

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