Detroit is known as an automotive hub and that is more true than ever this week as CTI International brought its 4th International CTI Conference to the area. AGRR magazine is here to report on the two-day Automotive Glazing USA event in Rochester Hills, Mich. The conference includes a series of presenters that tackle topics related to OE automotive glazing trends.
The day started with a presentation from Dhiraj Uikey, staff scientist at SABIC, regarding polycarbonate glazing, indicating a future market trend. He talked about the many benefits of plastic glazing including a lighter weight than glass, and how it is “stronger and won’t crack.” He clarified however that the company isn’t targeting windshields as “these won’t withstand the wipers” so is instead using this material for backlite applications.
Another presentation, that from Joseph LaPlante of ISRA Surface Vision’s glass division, also made mention of plastic glazing during his presentation on optical distortion as it relates to ADAS systems. He pointed out that his company has ISRA has a separate division on plastic. “Plastic and glass are coming closer and closer together,” he said.
But his presentation mainly focused on optical distortion and how this plays into calibration.
“The OEMS come to us to see if there can be an acceptable level of distortion when it comes to calibrating the cameras as they are concerned about distortion in the camera fields,” he said.
LaPlante also pointed out that some windshield manufacturers are using IR coatings and these have to be removed in the camera zones. The challenge is to come up with technology that the OEMS want and ISRA is working on the first version of an ADAS software that the camera manufacturers can use. “We have a development order with a windshield manufacturer right now,” he said.
The next several presentations continued to focus on ADAS systems, calibration, and specifically how all this affects the glass. The short answer is there is still more questions than answers. Gerald Alexander Beese, from KTI, a German research institution, pointed to increasing claims costs and how “we have to figure out how to make calibration easier.”
Sean O’Malley from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety talked about ADAS Issues related to windshields. He said that when the auto manufacturers came out and said “no more aftermarket glass—it must be replaced with OE—the IIHS started doing some testing which O’Malley said showed no difference in installing aftermarket or OE glass. That is until the Institute came upon the Honda Civic where the camera mount was a little off.
“The warning came a lot later for the lane departure warning while driving it to the dealership,” he said. “So then I took it in for calibration which is a whole separate story. They were able to calibrate out all the errors we were having so yes calibrations are important. You need to tell the camera where the center of the car is.”
His separate story about calibration involved driving more than 70 hours outside of his service area trying to find someone to perform the calibration.
“In the end, basically I told a Honda technician how to calibrate a car because I read the directions,” said O’Malley.
The good news is that since the IIHS started its research more than two years ago, many of these problems have improved immensely.
“It’s gotten 90 percent better since I started two years ago,” he said.