Humans do not have crystal balls to foresee the future, but more and more auto glass industry members see a future of more, not less, auto technology.
“ADAS technology will over time lead to fewer auto accidents and vehicles needing glass replacements,” says Susanna Gotsch, CCC Intelligent Solutions senior director Insights and Analytics of the 2022 CCC Crash Course Report. “Technicians who learn to do calibrations will have a new opportunity to make up for the lost volume with more operations and higher cost ticket per replacement.”
Gotsch says future auto glass trends will include more vehicles that require scan and calibration procedures because a growing share of registered vehicles are equipped with ADAS.
A mandate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration already requires vehicles produced and sold in the United States after May 1, 2018, must be equipped with rear-backup cameras, according to Gotsch’s report. Increased automobile technology means a vehicle scan is necessary after damage to ensure equipment is working properly. “These electronics are integrated and fused to multiple systems; a scan can help identify communication errors and reasons; damaged modules; wire or connector damage; pre-existing damage; corrosion issues; warranty issues; and aftermarket accessories interference,” the report states.
Gotsch says ADAS technology is specific to each automaker and the vehicle they make. Technicians must check manufacturer specifications to ensure the vehicle and its ADAS operate properly. “Repairers can no longer assume they know how to repair a vehicle without first reviewing the OEM procedures,” Gotsch says.
Gotsch’s report reveals that 20% of vehicle claims in 2021 were vehicles with at least one ADAS feature. The rest were older vehicles without ADAS. In the fourth quarter of last year, nearly 16% of all repairs included a repair or replacement of almost two camera, radar or sensor parts.
Gotsch was surprised to learn from the report’s results that automakers vary in their efforts to meet voluntary commitments related to ADAS technologies. NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced in March 2016 a commitment by 20 automakers, 99% of all vehicles sold in the U.S., to make front-crash warning systems and automatic emergency braking standard on all vehicles by September 2022. “Some met it well ahead of time, others still have quite a way to go with this final production year,” she says.
Technology in vehicles continues to grow, and proper calibration after repair and replacement will only continue to be critical. Pre- and post-scans will also continue to be necessary. “As more vehicles come equipped with ADAS technologies, we see more reports of improper alignment in vehicles involved in crashes. Take for example, a deadly multi-vehicle crash in early January 2020 near Mt Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania. An investigation by NTSB found vehicles traveling at unsafe speeds led to the fatal crash. While the circumstances of the impacts for three semis involved in the crash were outside the capabilities of the collision avoidance systems available, one of the truck’s collision avoidance systems was not operational due to a misalignment in the radar on which the system depended,” the report states.
A pre-repair scan alerts a technician to pre-existing issues in the vehicle’s ADAS. According to Gotsch’s report, a 2021 study by TUV Rheinland and TRL revealed that regular wear and tear on a vehicle, including chips in a windshield, can deteriorate the functionality of an ADAS feature like lane-keeping assist.