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AASP/NJ Members Gain Insight into ADAS at Meeting

The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) announced that members gained insight into ADAS at a recent virtual membership meeting, mainly that ADAS is here to stay.

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The discussion that was held at the meeting, titled “ADAS: 2021 & Beyond,” was led by Jim DeLeo, northeast division manager, and Tom Kelley, northeast regional trainer of Hunter Engineering Company. The duo gave an extensive overview on how this technology evolved, how it is changing the way repairs are performed and what is coming down the road.

“The numbers of vehicles that are affected by ADAS are growing daily,” said DeLeo. “If you think back to 2012, when steering angle sensors were mandated by the federal government to be equipped on every passenger car and light-duty truck, the reason was that the statistics on rollovers were overwhelming. Vehicles with steering angle sensors had a reduction of rollovers that couldn’t be ignored; therefore, it was mandated.

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“Fast forward to today, the automotive vehicle manufacturers – not the federal government – got together and mandated for 2023 that every vehicle has automatic emergency braking. So, when you think about it, these autonomous systems and autonomous driving cars are here. The public demands them and the manufacturers will supply them, so more and more of these systems are to be standard.”

Fixing these vehicles leaves shop owners with much to consider. If the service one provides adversely affects ADAS performance, then the facility could face legal trouble. Many choose to sublet the work; however, this could create problems, as the shop gives up control of the quality of work but the shop retains the liability. DeLeo believes that the growing number of vehicles with ADAS showing up at shops will “separate the men from the boys” and force them to address it in-house.

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The overall purpose of ADAS is to reduce accidents; therefore, it is crucial that these systems are properly calibrated. Failure to do so will cause these systems to malfunction, putting the driver at risk and causing the shop to be held liable. Using steering angle sensors as an example, Kelley stressed the days of “just setting the toe are pretty much gone.”

Cameras and radars detect the vehicle’s path and the objects in front of it. If they are even the slightest bit off, the direction of the steering will be affected.

“All of these systems are based on a vehicle that is square and pointing straight down the road, with all of its wheels pointing forward in a geometric center line. If it went down the road with the steering pointed to the left, my steering would be off, so you need to set the thrust line first. If it goes down the road like this, it’d be ‘dog tracking,’ taking up more lane and pointed in the wrong direction. It’s an extremely important component, which is why alignment has to be done properly.”

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Kelley suggested that repairers should also keep in mind that many customers are likely unaware of the capabilities of the ADAS equipment in their vehicles.

“Educate your customers. Run clinics to educate them. They really don’t have a grasp on what they are being sold. You have to know these systems, and your technicians have to be educated as well.”

AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee expressed how important it is that members continue to stay involved in what is going on in the industry and learn as much as they can about ADAS and other technologies.

“If you say you are fixing cars correctly, you have to have all your bases covered. There is no other way around it.”

For more information on AASP/NJ, visit aaspnj.org.

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