An update from Alistair Carlton, technical manager at National Windscreens
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are being installed in new vehicles at an ever-increasing pace and they are not ‘fit and forget’ technology. There is an essential maintenance requirement, such as after an accident or when a windscreen is replaced, needed to ensure the assistance systems continue to work correctly.
New car assessment bodies such as Euro NCAP have included Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) as part of their tests since 2014 and are looking at making such systems mandatory in order to achieve a 5-star assessment rating. Such systems range from blind spot elimination to lane keep assist through to adaptive cruise control.
The Euro NCAP standard is undoubtedly a key factor driving the introduction of ADAS, with 40% of all vehicles on UK roads predicted to have at least two types of ADAS fitted by 2020.
ADAS technology is becoming part of mainstream fleets. It is not just about premium marques. It is pretty much available already as an option on most car manufacturer’s models and will soon be fitted as standard to many. Indeed, the single vehicle model that accounts for the most ADAS calibrations undertaken by National Windscreens during 2017 is the Nissan Qashqai. Therefore, as the market grows, so will the necessity to calibrate vehicles that require windscreen replacement or have been involved in an accident.
Accordingly, we consider 40% of vehicles featuring ADAS by 2020 as a conservative prediction and we are working hard to provide the level of infrastructure, technology, and expertise that our insurance partners will require to meet this growing demand for ADAS camera calibration.
Our research amongst insurers and fleet managers over the past 12 months confirms that it is still not widely realised that 75 per cent of vehicle manufacturers require calibration in workshop conditions and this proportion of manufacturers is increasing. We are aware of major vehicle manufacturers now looking to move towards the use of workshop calibration when they had previously been specifying dynamic calibration for their vehicles.
In the face of this growing demand, we do not believe it should be necessary for any driver to make two visits to a workshop; one for replacement and one for calibration. This is costly and inconvenient for the policyholder. There is also the concern that if the vehicle continues to be used on the road between the replacement and calibration appointments, then the ADAS safety systems may not be working as intended at that time. National Windscreens remain the only company able to provide such nationwide coverage with 108 fitting and calibration centres offering a one-stop service for replacement and calibration.
The situation is the same throughout Europe. National Windscreens is the UK partner in the Automotive Glass Europe® network of automotive glass specialists, offering a seamless service throughout 18 countries. Our partners in these countries have all experienced massive growth in demand for ADAS calibration and have invested heavily in ADAS calibration technology.
With ADAS being regarded as the first step towards truly autonomous cars it is perhaps not surprising that we see certain assumptions being made about the capabilities of ADAS technology that are unrealistic. With all of the discussion around the development of fully autonomous cars, it should be remembered that most knowledgeable industry predictions are for such technology on UK roads to be at around 20 years away. Similarly, the theory that automated ADAS calibration on vehicles will do away with the need for workshop calibration certainly does not match with what we are seeing in the marketplace. Such technology is several years away from happening, even if it ever happens. Calibration is a physical comparison between what the system is actually doing compared to what it should be doing. Automated systems can only compare what they see to what they expect to see, it is not a true calibration and the technology is currently still in the very early stages of development. There is no doubt that the demand for workshop based ADAS camera calibration is here to stay and is only set to increase.
Identifying the safety systems fitted to a vehicle is regarded as a key issue for insurers. There is a strong demand for a central database that insurers can access in order to identify the exact safety systems fitted to each individual vehicle. However this comes about, whether it is through government action or cooperative agreement between manufacturers, it is not something that is likely to be available for quite some time.
National Windscreens response to this has been the development of a unique piece of software, Partscheck. This identifies the exact piece of replacement glass required and if it has a windscreen camera mounting fitted.
We are working hard to make sure that our world leading expertise and capability in ADAS calibration brings maximum benefit and peace of mind to insurers and their policyholders. We are leading education programmes throughout the insurance and fleet sector to raise awareness of these issues. This programme is now moving into the heart of organisations with presentations at all levels, from senior management and customer service teams to industry gatherings. These presentations are available to all insurers so feel free to get in touch, ACarlton@nationalwindscreens.co.uk
We are working hard to make it as simple as possible for insurers to benefit from this expertise and knowledge. Want to know more? – visit www.nationalwindscreens.co.uk/adas for videos explaining ADAS technology, calibration and the world leading service offered by National Windscreens.