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April 29, 2020—As automakers release a wider variety of ADAS systems with their own individual calibration needs and investments, remote calibration emerged as a handy tool to get OE specialist help without hiring or training them on site at each shop.

Jeff Poole, a subject matter expert with I-CAR, told ADAPT that while it can be a handy service, on-site techs still need to cover their bases to make sure the work is done correctly.

“The engineers behind these procedures, they're banking on the technician out there doing this procedure in the shop, following every step in this practice and doing it right,” Poole says.


Detailed Procedures

Collision shops are not strangers to following detailed repair procedures. ADAS calibration falls into that category, particularly when the on-site tech is setting up the tools for a remote specialist to do their job.

“Whenever I think about some of the calibrations, there’s tight tolerances," Poole says. "There are specifications the vehicle-makers will give you for targets, placements, stuff like that.”

Those specifications need to be followed precisely to ensure the remote specialist is getting the right data. Something like an improper wheel alignment could potentially throw off a measurement.


Limitations of Remote Tools

The remote calibration tools are helpful for shops to work on a wider variety of ADAS-enabled vehicles. But shops will still need to make investments in calibration equipment, which are often OE-specific. There are preferred settings and shop environments that manufacturers will recommend as well.

“The limitation is going to be perhaps at the point where: Does the shop have the targets? Does the shop have the right setting?” Poole says.

If the shop's environment isn't up to recommendations or the equipment investment is just out of reach, shops can sublet that work to a dealer or another facility. An I-CAR spokeswoman said that they encourage shops to do as much as they can on site but understand the need for occasional subletting. Keep in mind, however, that the quality of repair is still your shop's responsibility.

“The risk, of course, if you’re hoping that sublet vendor is doing it right," Poole says. "Because ultimately shops still own that liability.”

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