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04/16/2019 by I-CAR
Self-driving vehicles have always seemed so futuristic and luxurious. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get caught up on work or get a few extra minutes of sleep on the way to work in the morning? Well, you may not have to wait too much longer. If you have shopped for a new vehicle lately, you might have noticed a lot of new technology showing up. Much of the new technology is geared toward achieving self-driving vehicles. Some of these new systems are adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, automatic collision warning, and parking assistance. There are also convenience features like 360° camera systems and backup cameras. The term used to describe these systems is advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS for short.
The common job for all of these systems is to make driving safer. Some of the systems are meant to give the driver a better handle on what is going on around them by adding cameras or sensors to areas of the vehicle that monitor the driver’s blind spots. Other systems will give warning to the driver that something is about to happen, like the vehicle drifting out of the lane. Many of these systems are gaining the ability to actually assist in control of the vehicle for the driver in an emergency situation to avoid a collision. For example, collision warning will inform the driver, using warning lights and alarms, that there is the possibility of a collision ahead. If the driver does not react or reacts too slowly, the vehicle has the ability to apply the brakes and can lessen the severity of the collision, if not avoid it altogether.
A Missing Puzzle Piece Can Spell Danger
All of these systems are excellent for helping reduce the frequency and severity of a collision. However, these highly complex systems have a lot of different pieces that must all be functioning perfectly to achieve the desired result. Various cameras and sensors have to monitor what is happening all around the vehicle. Then the information obtained has to pass thorough the vehicle’s on-board computer systems. When the computer determines that action is required, it will send a signal to another part of the vehicle, be that the brake system or steering system. Then that system has to perform the requested action. All of this needs to happen in fractions of a second. So, if one piece of the puzzle is missing, the whole system fails.
Special Equipment = Special Repair Attention
All of this specialized equipment on the vehicle requires special attention after an accident. For the cameras and sensors to work correctly, it is essential that they are aimed or pointed in the right direction. Also, the camera and sensors need to know where they are pointed in relation to the vehicle. In the collision repair industry, we refer to this aiming process as calibration. Some calibration processes are easier than others, but many have numerous steps involved. Specialized equipment may also be required for the calibration process to be completed. These tools can include special visual targets, metal reflectors, and precise measurements to place the special targets in the correct position.
A calibration may be required whenever an ADAS camera or sensor is removed or installed on the vehicle, if parts around the cameras and sensors are removed and installed, or even simply because the vehicle is involved in a collision. Having the vehicle maker required calibration procedures done after repairs is the only way to ensure that all of the vehicle ADAS are functioning as intended.
Understanding all of the ADAS on today’s vehicles takes a lot of knowledge and skills. Not to mention, these systems are an evolving technology. This makes it increasingly important that the technicians repairing the vehicle are continuing their education and training so they can keep up with fast-changing technology. When choosing a collision repair facility (body shop), always make sure to look for the I-CAR Gold Class logo. Collision repair facilities that train with I-CAR are getting the required knowledge and skills that contribute to complete safe and quality repairs.