In the vehicle collision business we come across many skilled people who are understandably not comfortable with the rate of technology progress, the immense diversity of service ‘calibrations / re-commissioning’ processes or the equally baffling array of ‘must have’ equipment.
The bottom line? In our sector this challenge is integral to our business. We either learn new skills or accept this area of business is for ‘others’ to access. That is a business decision in it’s own right.
Long term, as we fumble towards full autonomy (circa 2040 before full mass market adoption for passenger cars, and by 2030 for applications starting with HGV / class 8 trucks) we face Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS). These systems offer everything from automated parking, automated lane keeping through to automated braking – and the ability to steer away from impending collisions too.
The initial phase has been underway from at least 2001, but finally – in 2018 – the software, firmware and hardware is in a different place. However there’s one glaring defect. There is no standard process to re-commission any of these systems after a vehicle has been repaired – yet.
Right now vehicles are built with one of three clusters of technology – the earliest system technologies that require static calibration with external aids (the ‘tool room’), second phase technologies that can calibrate during a test drive (assisted dynamic) and the ultimate – self calibration.
Whilst there is alarming evidence that the very latest systems reaching the market right now still use static calibration ‘tool room’ processes, the overall push will be towards self calibration Why? Once a vehicle manufacturer has to pay for calibration as part of any warranty process – which means some ADAS systems become mandated as standard fitment as has already happened for HGV / class 8 trucks as well as large passenger carrying vehicles – the pressure to find self calibration for each of those systems will be immense.
Until we reach that point – in another 10 years or so in terms of meaningful vehicle population – enjoy the mayhem!