ADAS: Changing the Industry of Auto Glass Replacement

There was a day when a lone windshield replacement soldier could answer the call of duty with nothing but his van and a rack of windshields. 

That day has long passed into the sunset. 

Today’s auto glass replacement company must stay on the cutting edge of technology to stay competitive in this saturated market. That means a rack of glass and a van won’t cut it any longer. 

If you are new to the auto glass repair industry, or are the everyday consumer, ADAS recalibration may be a foreign term to you. As alien as the acronym may seem, ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) technology has an everyday terrestrial impact.

What is ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)?

ADAS technology goes hand-in-hand with a driver’s safety. 

ADAS is a type of technology found in newer vehicles and stands for advanced driver assistance systems. 

The technology includes features like “Adaptive Cruise Control” (ACC) to “Ultrasonic Park Assist” (UPA), and is changing how we drive. 

While these features keep us safer, when one of these crucial sensors breaks either from a fender-bender or otherwise, it’s expensive to repair.  (View an exhaustive list of features here)

What Does ADAS Have to do with Windshields?

So, what does ADAS have to do with windshields and where does recalibration come in? 

Up to this point, when you hear the terms “ADAS calibration”, or “windshield recalibration” or other similar terms, the company providing the service is referring to recalibrating the camera that is attached to your windshield.

When a windshield insurance claim is filed (in Minnesota), satisfying the claim requires returning the vehicle to “pre-loss condition”. Thusly, when a windshield possessing a camera crucial to ADAS features is replaced, the camera mounted atop the windshield needs to be recalibrated as per manufacturers’ requirements.

Many auto glass companies are taking it upon themselves to purchase the equipment and train their staff to complete ADAS calibrations. With so many newer vehicles coming off the lot equipped with ADAS technology, windshield replacement is becoming synonymous with ADAS recalibration. You can’t have one without the other.

And now, to open another can of worms. 

ADAS sensors are more than just in the windshield camera

As you’ve probably guessed, ADAS features and sensors are more than just those working in the windshield camera. 

ADAS features may be at work all over your vehicle. 

Sensors or cameras in the side-view mirrors, front bumper, and back bumper work in harmony to provide “360 Surround View” in some models. What does “360 Surround View” have to do with windshield replacement? 

There are numerous conditions under which other features will need to be recalibrated (I will talk about this in a future blog post). Currently, the lion’s share of these other ADAS calibrations are completed at dealerships, but a day is on the horizon where auto glass companies will be recalibrating all ADAS features.

Companies looking to move into this still burgeoning service of ADAS recalibration have a hill to climb. The big name in auto glass (from an American standpoint) has been calibrating windshields for years, and several medium-sized companies have been cutting their teeth as well. 

For one man and a van, adding ADAS recalibration might prove quite difficult, for other small to medium-sized companies, smash that clutch and get into gear otherwise you will be left in the dust.

The cutting edge may be an uncomfortable place to stand, but it’s where only a few auto glass companies dare to tread at this point in time.

One thing is for sure, ADAS is here to stay, now and into the increasingly autonomous future.

We offer ADAS recalibration as a service. Learn more about it here.

Autonomous Vehicles: An Overview

Looking at pop culture from decades passed, from the Jetsons to Back to the Future, no doubt there are individuals who are heart-broken that we are not yet embracing flying cars. We may be headed in this direction, however, and it begins with the journey toward fully autonomous vehicles. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’d trust myself in a flying car, unless it was autonomously controlled.

The Major Players

Believe it or not, the journey to autonomous cars began in 1925 with Francis Houdina’s radio-controlled cars, and nearly 100 years later, Tesla, Waymo and other companies are bringing truly driverless vehicles to life. Let’s take a look at a couple of these companies.

Waymo

Waymo, formerly a project of Google and now a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. as of 2016, focuses on developing self-driving technology. As of December 2018, they started Waymo One, an autonomous taxi service. Patrons in Phoenix, Arizona are now able to get a ride via an app that hails an autonomous vehicle. With the rollout of Waymo One, Waymo is truly paving the way for the future of autonomous vehicles commercially speaking.

Tesla

Formed in 2003 and headed by the enigmatic Elon Musk, Tesla is on the forefront of consumer autonomous-driving technology, and performance electric vehicles. Tesla has not let the naysayers hold them down with regard to creating high-performing electric vehicles. One of the highlights of Tesla’s achievements thus far was their creation of the Model S, with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 2.28. However, on the autonomous side of things, Tesla continues to sell L2 autonomous vehicles with promises of L5 software updates promised. This move has received a fair amount of criticism.   

Levels of Autonomous Driving

Experts have come up with 6 levels relating to autonomous driving. Here is a breakdown of the different levels, the driver’s responsibility and examples of relevant features and vehicles.

Level 0: The driver is in control of steering, braking, changing, etc., no automation from vehicle systems 

Level 1: The vehicle can control steering or vehicle speed during various situations. An L1 feature would be adaptive cruise control. This level would be considered driver assistance.

Level 2: The vehicle can control steering, braking and accelerating during in various situations. The driver is still responsible for staying aware of surroundings, changing lanes and other functions. An L2 feature would be the “Tesla Autopilot”. This level is considered partial automation.

Level 3: The vehicle can handle a majority of the driving and detecting the surrounding environment. The car will notify the driver when there’s a situation where the driver is needed. An L3 feature would be Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot. This level is considered conditional automation.

Level 4: The vehicle can drive without guidance from the driver as long as the proper conditions, geography, and road types are met. Depending on the area the car is being driven in, the driver’s oversight might not be necessary at all. Google had a prototype with a top speed of 25 mph that would have been considered L4. This level is considered high automation.

Level 5: This car would be able to drive in any conditions a human could. All the driver would have to do is enter a location. The Waymo One vehicles would be considered L5. This level is considered full automation.

The Risk of Innovation

As with many steps forwards in technology (flight, nuclear, space exploration, etc.), there is the ever-looming threat to human life. The journey toward autonomous cars is not without a fair share of unfortunate happenings. Tesla is responsible for 5 deaths, 4 in the US, and 1 in China. Uber is responsible for 1. 

Nevertheless, the push toward a world brimming with autonomous vehicles continues.