Do You Have Space for the Future Car Repair?
May 15, 2020—The auto industry is closer and closer to what some call its heyday: the connected car changing how shops repair a vehicle.
The connected car market size is expected to grow to over $200 billion by 2027, according to a MarketsandMarkets, which provides B2B research on 30,000 high growth, emerging opportunities.
To prepare for the future of cars with ADAS calibrations and diagnostic repairs, shops need to think ahead in terms of space and equipment. With most automakers like BMW, Audi, Ford, Acura, Volvo, Volkswagen, Nissan and others offering connected cars, a shop will be left behind in convenient services if it isn't structured to accommodate them. If a shop operator doesn't plan now, there might simply not be space in the facility to successfully compete and perform these repairs.
For Mark Kipfer, co-owner of Auto Glass Express in Berkeley, Calif., setting up a space for cars with ADAS repairs, involves essentially building a virtual box around the vehicle.
He has an interface with the vehicle's computer and a pad that has the software on it. When the operator runs through the system, it will inform him or her, how to place the targets and which targets are required, including the sequence of where to place those targets. Once the vehicle sees the targets, it can calibrate the camera.
In the designated shop space, the vehicle has to be level, the frame has to be on square with the vehicle and the targets need to be placed correctly.So, there's no physical adjustment of the camera but there is physical adjustment of the camera.
For Jacques Navant, technical director for Don's Mobile Glass and The Calibration Station in Modesto, Calif., the process involves a tightly controlled environment. One example is a controlled light source, which includes an enclosed, open work area without natural light so the technician has complete control of every aspect of the light source.
"You have to have a controlled light source, direct sunlight or refractions from other surfaces can give you the false impression of a job done complete and accurate, or a failed calibration," Navant says. "If your light source is distorting the target that your camera is trying to pick up and calibrate to then you're not doing a true, accurate calibration."
He says the layout for these has to be a large, open area. For shops performing repairs on more American vehicles, they might need a bigger area because they require larger sized targets to complete the calibration.
Breaking down what you need for your space:
- Designate one stall or bay for only calibrations.
- Set up off-white curtains around the bay that can be pulled across the whole area so that nothing visually can confuse the camera.
- Make sure you have a space designated that is at least about 30 feet deep and 15 feet wide.
- Have a controlled light source.
- The space needs to have blank walls and blank floors with no distinct lines or patterns.