There are about 12 to 13 million repair or replacement potentials each year, according to Bill George of NSG Pilkington who spoke yesterday during Auto Glass Week. Technology is changing, autonomous vehicles are coming, and you need to be prepared for it, he told automotive glass company owners and technicians.
If you’re doing an installation on a vehicle with a windshield-mounted camera for driver assist systems, the “actual position of the windshield cannot change,” said George.
“If it is off one degree of an angle about 75 yards out it can be 20 to 15 yards of difference,” he explained. “You are effectively changing the radius. It really has to be placed exactly where it was. The camera is installed with brackets and there are very specific types of tape they use. They don’t move … they are very dense. A very slight change will dramatically change system and you have to recalibrate. A distortion can sometimes occur in the float process and sometimes in the bending process that can impact it (the camera radius). They are using light for the camera so distortion in the glass will bend the infrared radar. The glass has to be perfect. If it’s not, what do you get? You get recalibration. You need to understand exactly what recalibration is and know exactly what it means.
“We are in the process of investigating this deeply. We need to be able to recalibrate the vehicles on our own and in the field,” George added, stressing its importance for your business.
He also noted that several systems are intertwined, so if the camera is off due to a windshield replacement and it was not recalibrated, the vehicle might not stop when it needs to, which could lead to an accident. Automotive glass companies need to get on board with calibration and understand what this means, George said. They are important for vehicle collision systems.
“Dealers recommend recalibration after an install,” he pointed out. And if automotive glass companies don’t learn to recalibrate, then George said his company will have to keep recommending dealers.
And he predicts more cameras being installed in vehicles in the future as the automotive industry pushes forward with autonomous vehicles.
Something like the polar vortex can swing the market 15 to 20 percent easily, he pointed out. There was a big spike of potential automotive glass repairs in 2007 but when the financial meltdown occurred, it just wasn’t a priority anymore for a lot of people, George noted.
“Every piece (of glass) I see today is five years out,” he said. “I am seeing antennas or wire in the glass. Transparent wire is something I’m seeing. Those wires are allowing us to do a lot of different things in the glass.”
He pointed to collision detection, LED and more as possible examples of what can be connected to the transparent wires.
“Look out because in six or seven years it’s clear some vehicles will be fully autonomous,” he added.
Auto Glass Week concludes today in Baltimore. Stay tuned to www.glassBYTEs.com™ for the latest from the event.