The Speed of Change
Sept. 17, 2020—ADAPT has answered the what, why, and how of advanced driver assistance system calibrations. A topic that is as dense as it is essential can oftentimes be difficult to wrap your head around—or your wrench, for instance. But in this article, ADAPT talked with the experts to understand just how urgent ADAS calibrations are. This is the final piece of the ever-changing puzzle—when.
ADAS technology is not new, but the processes designed to calibrate them are. Calibrations have been on the minds and in the email subject lines of many shop owners, technicians, and even car owners. In an industry where very little is ubiquitously agreed upon, everyone ADAPT talked with says calibrating these systems is of utmost importance.
The discourse starts to vary when talking about the timing of calibrations—how much time does your shop have to gear up for this painstaking process?
Jake Rodenroth of asTech Solutions says the time to calibrate is now. According to Rodenroth, if you’re just hearing about calibrations for the first time, you’re already behind.
Chuck Olsen of AirPro diagnostics echoes Rodenroth’s viewpoint by urging shops to research calibration specifications and begin to make space as soon as it is fiscally feasible.
Even if your shop does not have the funds to create a dedicated space for ADAS calibrations, you should begin by sorting through inventory and figuring out which cars you service the most and which calibration procedure is needed most often, Olsen says.
On the other side of the aisle is owner of European Motor Car Works in Costa Mesa, Calif., Kye Yeung, who says shops still have a few years before in-house calibrations are absolutely necessary.
Yeung, who employs two calibration technicians, says smaller shops have options to choose from such as remote-calibrations from asTech or AirPro in the meantime. But each vehicle you refer to one of those is money out the door, he warns.
In line with Olsen’s advice, Yeung says before investing in calibration space and equipment to do your research.
“If you’re getting certified for calibrations, you just hope there are enough of those cars in your area to get a turn on investment,” Yeung says.
Ulmer’s Auto Care of Ohio, an independent shop, recently opened its very own calibration center. Bryan Kauffeld, vice president at Ulmer’s, says he prioritizes innovation wherever he can.
In an attempt to stay even further ahead of the competition, Ulmer’s has created their own remote calibration station by outfitting a van with essential tools and equipment.
“What are you doing to stay ahead of the game and stay relevant?” he poses to all shop owners.
One of Kauffeld’s top calibration technicians, Noah Blair, says there will be a small window for shops to get a start on calibrations.
“I think within the next five years the autonomous systems we are working on will become mandatory,” Blair says. “People need to get at least educated on [calibrations] now because there will be an exponential growth in ADAS capabilities in the next five years.”
If you wait five years to become fluent in calibrations, it could be too late, warns Blair.
“Cars with the newer ADAS systems don’t malfunction often, but in five years time, they will be more common on the road and that will create an even bigger need for ADAS calibrations,” he says.
Whether your shop is just learning about ADAS calibrations, already set up to complete them, or avoiding them like the pandemic, knowledge is key. In order to prepare for a shift in the industry, you have to know what’s coming.