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The Growth of ADAS for Mechanical Repair Shops

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April 8, 2020—The global advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) market was valued at $39.63 billion in 2018. By 2026, it is projected to reach $189.14 billion by 2026 (according to a report from Allied Market Research). 

That’s rapid growth. If those numbers don’t have you convinced, consider this: almost all of the vehicles coming out on the market have some sort of ADAS capabilities. AAA stated in 2018 that at least one ADAS feature is available in 92.7 percent of new vehicle models available in the U.S. Whether you’re aware of it or not, these vehicles are in your shop. 

Now, for those of you that are still thinking, “That may be true, but the work I do doesn’t affect ADAS,” think again. Here are examples of common jobs that come into independent repair shops every day that could impact the systems within a vehicle, according to Randy Briggs, CTI Research and Development Center manager at the CARQUEST Technical Institute: 

  • Any alignment or repair that changes thrust angle 
  • Any alignment or repair that changes ride height 
  • Windshield replacement and glass choice 
  • Brake service and parts choice (including ABS and stability control) 
  • Custom wheel and tire work 

Briggs, who led session on ADAS at the 2019 Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo, shares the importance of understanding ADAS and whether or not he thinks it’s necessary for all shops to being doing ADAS work. 

 

Why do independent shops need to pay attention to ADAS?

There’s a number of reasons. Many everyday services affect the performance of ADAS. A lot of shops do alignments and tire work and suspension—all of that can impact ADAS. Even if you’re not doing ADAS repairs, you’re doing repairs that affect it. Automated braking systems, for example. If a particular shop does a brake repair and they make the wrong brake pad choice, that can affect the function of that collision system. 

 

Do you think the majority of shop owners understand the need of familiarizing themselves with ADAS? 

The shop owners that are progressive and go to classes are aware of it. That is not the majority coast to coast— it’s the minority. I would have to say, from what we see as far as misalignments and brackets that weren’t mounted correctly, there’s a general unawareness of ADAS and what they have to do to not adversely affect the system. 

A year ago, I was in a collision repair shop and they said they didn’t have any cars that had ADAS-related issues. I looked around, there were seven cars there that did. It was right there in front of them, but they didn’t have the experience and training to realize what they were seeing. Fortunately, that’s changing rapidly as training becomes more available. 

 

Do you think all independent repair shops should perform ADAS calibrations? 

Not necessarily. The answer is two parts. Is there a need to have an awareness about how it works and what calibrations are needed? Absolutely. Every shop needs to have working knowledge.

Do they need to do it? It depends on their model. There are many business models out there that do this type of work. Mobile repair now specializes in programming and ADAS. There are specific calibration centers that service collision shops in their areas. There’s also the dealership. 

Depending on the market and timing, it could be a viable business model. An independent shop could become the local business expert for ADAS. 

Each shop’s business model differs. The first thing you need to do is examine workflow from your customer base and see if there’s enough there to support the investment. From there, you need to step outside the door and see what businesses in the area need that service whether or not you can market to them. Do you have a good working relationship with collision repair centers? It could potentially open up other revenue streams as well. Many collision repair centers are outsourcing air conditioning for example, that could open an avenue or revenue stream. You could start by advertising ADAS and pick that up along the way. 

 

What is the minimum that a shop should do to prepare for ADAS? 

That really depends on the work that a shop does. You need to have awareness and, especially, the appreciation of the accuracy required of mounting and calibration. Not only the awareness of the actual processes, but awareness for the degree of accuracy, as well. 

When it comes to training, they need all that they can get. We offer ADAS classes and are continuing to develop them. I-CAR offers it on the collision repair side. 

 

What advice would you have for shop owners regarding ADAS? 

In general, be critical of accurate OE service information to go on. You need accurate OE service information to refer to. We’ve seen service documents change midyear because they find a change to the process. You can’t take that procedure that you did in January and throw in your good-stuff-to-know folder, pull it out in December, and expect it to be accurate. 

You need to do your homework ahead of time to make sure you’re equipped for calibrations, initializations and reprogramming and from there, you need to appreciate the accuracy that’s required and know your equipment inside and out. 

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