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The Future of Advanced Driver Assist Systems

Person pressing a self-driving button on a futuristic car

Since 2012, car manufacturers have been incorporating Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) into many vehicles to improve motorists’ safety and make driving more convenient and efficient than ever before. These intelligent systems are characterized by numerous features that automate various functions, like emergency braking, to help keep drivers out of harm’s way and reduce vehicle repair costs after incidents.

The implementation has been generally successful according to recent statistics that report that the repurchase rate by drivers who have used ADAS vehicles is 87-89%. However, lack of maintenance and accurate repair adhering to OEM procedures after a collision eliminates the supposed benefits of ADAS.

ADAS system and the various radar signals it uses

What Are Advanced Driver Assist Systems?

Advanced Driver Assist Systems are intelligent motor systems that assume some control of a vehicle, generally without human initiation. They’re built into the vehicle itself and utilize a variety of sensors, cameras, radars, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and other motor-connected devices that help detect potential hazards and help drivers avoid collisions and accidents. Some ADAS capabilities include lane departure warning (LDW), autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection.

These features can detect moving objects and alert the driver of potentially hazardous conditions or, in some cases, even slow and automatically stop the vehicle. After collision especially, it’s paramount for these systems to be repaired to their pre-collision condition to ensure they work optimally for optimal road safety.

The Complexity of ADAS for Car Repair

In order to keep costs low and comply with insurance policies, many auto repair shops have been pressured to disregard Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) procedures almost completely. But in doing so, these vehicles are more likely to get into future car accidents. Ideally, when a vehicle is involved in a crash, the repair professionals should review and adhere to the OEM procedures regarding a vehicle’s make and model before performing any changes or repairs.

There are several reasons technicians must be keen on following OEM procedures. These include:

  • Any repairs can affect the safety of the vehicle, its occupants and other road users.
  • Automakers are considered the first and final authority of the vehicles they manufacture.
  • Following OEM procedures reduces the risk of liability in case the vehicle is involved in another accident in the future.
  • They provide clear direction and instructions for any post-repair work required, including calibrations, reinitializations and operation tests.
  • They ensure optimal performance based on the vehicle’s specific make and its various parts.

The goal is to return a vehicle to its “as designated state,” which is how the automakers intend for it to run optimally to ensure safe roads. Repair shops are mandated to conduct a post-scan, calibration and comprehensive test drive to ensure all the systems run as they did before the collision. This must be done and documented before the repaired vehicle is returned to the customer.

Many OEMs or vehicle manufacturers also recommend the use of genuine or original parts as opposed to aftermarket, recycled or crash parts. All this is aimed at ensuring vehicles are repaired properly after a crash, and drivers can continue depending on the reliability of these safety systems after the collision. For example, consider a driver who partially relies on sensors to detect motion while backing up — it’s better for all involved if those sensors continue to perform reliably after a collision and subsequent repair.

States Are Taking Action

With the increasing instances of vehicle owners driving and relying on incorrectly repaired ADAS features, the landscape has become life-threatening. Therefore, state and federal governments have stepped in.

New York State passed a bill in 2019 that requires repair shops to strictly follow OEM guidelines for collision repairs and forbids insurance companies from requiring repair shops to sway from those set standards. If OEM procedures require a scan, calibration or diagnostic test of a vehicle’s electronic system before and after, insurance companies must not instruct repairers to deviate, and thus, they will have no choice but to comply.

Many states across the nation, such as California and New Hampshire, have followed suit. They are introducing and drafting ADAS vehicle inspection and protection bills in hopes of increasing vehicle and passenger safety to prevent future collisions.

Since 2009, California has passed various regulations updating the driving standards for ADAS as well as autonomous vehicles. Proposed and passed was a bill pinpointing the liability for ADAS-featured vehicles that have gotten into a car accident. Manufacturers are held to a higher standard in terms of collision liability, and auto repair shops are also expected to repair these systems correctly.

California legislature has also mandated inspection tests by the manufacturer before selling them to consumers and hopes to reign in on vehicle safety by increasing the number of regulations that car manufacturers and auto-related facilities must comply with in updating ADAS features and in the future autonomous vehicles. California, amongst others, has pressured the federal government to pass ADAS safety legislation. As the industry continues to expand, vehicle safety standards may very well be stricter and pro-consumer.

Man staring at a tablet

Navigating the Future of ADAS Repairs

The rapid integration of ADAS into vehicles demands meticulous repair and maintenance practices. Following OEM repair procedures is crucial to ensure safety, maintain performance, adhere to legal standards and uphold the integrity of both the vehicle and the repair facility.

If you have any questions regarding Advanced Driver Assist Systems or its effect on auto shops and insurance company-related legislation, contact us today!

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